Friend of 95-year-old woman Tasered by police gives update to GMB

Friend of Australian woman, 95, with dementia who was Tasered by police claims her family are under pressure not to speak about her condition

  • New South Wales grandmother Clare Nowland, 95, was tasered twice by police 
  • READ MORE:  Officer ‘three times her size’ stood down for tasering 95-year-old

The friend of a 95-year-old woman who was tasered by police twice claimed that her family are being ‘pressured’ by police not to talk to anyone. 

Clare Nowland, a 95-year-old dementia sufferer, was using a walking frame and carrying a knife when she was blasted with a Taser at her aged care home in Cooma, New South Wales, last Wednesday. 

Speaking to Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain today on behalf of Clare’s family, friend Andrew Thaler praised the 95-year-old for being a pillar of her community, and condemned Australia’s police commissioner Karen Webb for not releasing the officer’s body cam footage. 

Andrew also claimed that Clare’s family are being pressured by police not to talk to anyone and said they are thankful for the people showing them support.

Speaking to Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid on GMB today on behalf of Clare Nowland’s family, friend Andrew Thaler has revealed that Clare is receiving end of life care following the incident.

Clare Nowland, a 95-year-old dementia sufferer was in a walking frame and carrying a knife when she was blasted with a Taser at her aged care home in Cooma, New South Wales, last Wednesday

Clare was Tasered by cops after she took a serrated steak knife from the kitchen into a treatment room.

Police and paramedics tried to get her to drop the knife before the male senior constable fired his Taser once as she tottered towards him and his partner.

Ms Nowland fell and struck her head on the floor, leaving her with a fractured skull and brain bleed.

Andrew now has claimed that her family, who are waiting by her bedside, cannot talk openly about the case. 

‘We don’t have easy access to update because unfortunately, the family are being pressured, I think, by the police, not to talk to anyone. Anyone at all,’ he claimed, speaking on the programme. 

‘And I’m trying to assist and make sure the community can get some answers and updates because there is so much enthusiasm and interest and passion and so much well wishing. 

‘When the police tells the family not to talk to anybody, they are not able to receive that love and care and prayer. That an unreasonable amount of pressure on the family,’ he added. 

Speaking of what let to Clare being Tasered by an officer twice, Andrew said he believed that the care staff on call at night ‘might have panicked’ and were not able to properly assist the situation, which led them to call police. 

Andrew also claimed that Clare’s family was being pressured by police not to talk to anyone and said they were thankful for the people showing them support and sending them well wishes

He said there was ‘further outrage’ at the fact that Australia’s Police commissioner Karen Webb said she wouldn’t release the officer cam footage to the public to show how the police response call unfolded.  

‘You would think she would need to reassure parliament, the Prime Minister and the community that the correct policing has been undertaken by the staff underneath her, and she can’t do that,’ he said. 

‘She cannot tell the parliament that the correct thing has been done,’ he added. 

‘We don’t need the bodycam footage released now, but we need to know it has been properly assessed and that the right response has been undertaken.’

He also claimed that the police officer had not been charged with a crime for Tasering Clare. 

Daily Mail Australia exclusively reported overnight that Senior Constable Kristian White, the officer who allegedly fired the Taser, has been stood down on full pay as investigations into the incident at the Yallambie Lodge nursing home continue. 

‘I think if it was an average every day person or a football player, they would be charged and arrested and we have no information about that at all,’ Andrew said. 

‘And so it appears there are no charges yet made and the policeman is probably hiding in a motel somewhere in another town,’ he added. 

Susanna told Andrew that nobody could understand what would have been going on in the officer’s mind to lead him to Taser Clare.

Andrew praised the 95-year-old as a pillar of her community and released she ran a charity thrift shop for several years. 

He said the charity would help people get electricity and would raise money as well as handing out food and clothes vouchers. 

‘She was loving life, she’s living life, she was very strong within her church,’ he said. 

‘She knew everybody in the town and every body knew her. This is not about a life lived in such a service of the community should be taken,’ Andrew added. 

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb defended the decision to leave out the fact Ms Nowland had been Tasered by officers when an original statement on the matter was released

He also revealed that while Clare made it through the night – surprising some members of her own family – she is on end of life care, but ‘is still hanging on,’

Some of the family were shocked that she made it through last night but she’s still hanging on now 

‘So all the family is very grateful for the prayers from everybody,’ he added. 

Watching at home, viewers were outraged by Clare’s story.  

‘Special kind of evil to Taser a 95 year old not once but twice,’ one said. 

‘Prayers for Clare Nowland,’ another said. 

‘The police could have flicked the knife out of her hand. Outrageous to Taser an elderly lady who uses a walking frame. 

‘That police officer needs locking up, he definitely got bullied in school, he could have walked up to her and take whatever she had out of her hand, if it was not a gun,’ one said.  

Viewers were outraged by Clare’s story and said the police officer could have taken the knife without the need for further violence

Clare Nowland (pictured skydiving) is peaceful and comfortable in end of life care, according to a local priest

The blast caused Mrs Rowland to fall and hit her head, leaving her with a bleeding on the brain.

She is now undergoing end-of-life care.

A NSW Police spokesman confirmed an officer of superintendent rank has been outside Ms Nowland’s room since last week, and although it is not ’24/7′

‘He’s been there a fair bit answering the family if they had any questions,’ the spokesman said.

Family friend, Andrew Thaler, also said private security guards had been deployed at the hospital and are ‘vetting everyone who wants to visit Ms Nowland’

Andrew has made repeated calls for Police Commissioner Karen Webb to sit with Mrs Nowland’s family for the difficult task of watching the body worn footage of her being Tasered as she slowly approached officers on her walking frame.


Wednesday, May 17, 4am: Police are called to the Yallambee Lodge nursing home

Clare Nowland was standing in the kitchen with a serrated steak knife

A senior constable fired his Taser into the great grandmother’s chest and back

Ms Nowland fell backwards, striking her head on the floor and was taken to hospital with a fractured skull and brain bleed

Wednesday, May 17, 4.41pm: NSW Police release a statement saying a critical investigation had been launched after an ‘elderly woman sustained injuries during an interaction with police at an aged care facility’

Friday morning, May 19: Community advocate Andrew Thaler told Daily Mail Australia on that Ms Nowland was now receiving end of life care in hospital

Saturday, May 20: NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said she has no intention to release the body-worn police vision of the incident or even see it herself

Monday, May 22: Commissioner Webb defends the original police statement where the matter was referred to as an ‘interaction’ and left out the fact Ms Nowland had been tasered 

Daily Mail Australia has asked the NSW Health Minister Ryan Park and the NSW Health department to confirm that the hospital security detail is in place and why.

Mr Park’s office said the it was up to NSW Health to answer these questions because they were ‘operational’ and it was ‘inappropriate’ to comment while an active police investigation was being carried out.

However, NSW Health did not respond to the questions.

Revelations of security and and a senior police officer stationed at her ward come as the NSW Police Commissioner comes under pressure for refusing watch confronting bodycam footage her two officers took of the Tasering, saying she did not want the video ‘tainting’ her views of the case.

Webb also claimed on Monday morning that an initial police statement about Ms Nowland had omitted mention of the Taser in order to protect the family.

The initial statement released from NSW Police – and approved by the NSW police commissioner on Wednesday – only revealed there had been an ‘interaction’ between the great grandmother and police.

Ms Nowland was tasered by cops after she took a serrated steak knife from the kitchen into a treatment room.

Police and paramedics tried to get her to drop the knife before the male senior constable fired his Taser once as she tottered towards him and his partner.

Ms Nowland fell and struck her head on the floor, leaving her with a fractured skull and brain bleed.

2GB Radio host Ben Fordham grilled NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb on Monday, asking why the original statement did not inform the public what had really happened.

‘It was necessary for us to make sure that the family were aware of what the circumstances were,’ Commissioner Webb responded.

‘We didn’t want the family to hear on radio and TV what had happened to their mum, so we had to be a bit sensitive to that and when we were able to talk about it, we did.’

The broadcaster then questioned if the decision to not mention the Tasering was really about protecting Ms Nowland’s family, or ‘hiding something that might be embarrassing or shameful for the police?’.

‘We are not hiding. I want answers as do the family,’ the commissioner said, adding she had seen the original statement put out. 

‘I thought it was important that we were mindful of the family.’

Fordham then asked if she stood by the decision to leave out the Tasering in the media release – which she admitted she had seen before it was sent out.

‘Yes I do, as I said the Nowland family deserve to learn from police what happened rather than hear about it in the media,’ Commissioner Webb said.

The commissioner said she would not be watching police body-worn footage of the incident, and said her thoughts were with Ms Nowland’s family.

But Fordham said it was her duty to watch what unfolded.

‘You’re the most senior officer in NSW, you will make the final decision about whether this officer remains in the force, I know it’s not going to be pretty but in the end I think it’s your duty to watch it commissioner,’ he said.

Commissioner Webb said she might watch the footage but needed to do so after receiving all statements and evidence about the incident.

‘I want answers like everyone else does,’ she said. 

Local priest, Father Mark Croker, visited Mrs Nowland on Sunday and held a Catholic mass at her hospital bedside.  He said although Mrs Nowland had dementia, she had been in good form and was able to hold a conversation.

‘The thing with Clare is the dementia hadn’t completely taken hold, you could still have a conversation with her … she might get a bit confused, but that’s an age thing,’ he told the Daily Telegraph.

It’s understood the 95-year-old is in and out of consciousness and her beathing has shallowed, as her eight children and their families were taking turns speaking to her. 

The officer who fired the electric shock weapon joined the force 12 years ago and has since been taken off active duty.

The critical incident investigation has been elevated to ‘level one’ because of Ms Nowland suffering an injury that could lead to her death.

Detectives from the State Homicide Squad and Law Enforcement Conduct Commission are investigating what happened and if the force used was appropriate. 

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