Great-grandmother, 95, fighting for life after being tasered by police

Mrs Nowland remains in a critical condition, while the officer who tasered her has been suspended from duty.

Mrs Nowland remains in a critical condition, while the officer who tasered her has been suspended from duty. Photo: ABC screenshot

A 95-year-old great-grandmother with dementia is reportedly fighting for her life after being tasered by police in a nursing home in NSW.

Clare Nowland was believed to be holding a knife and standing next to a walking frame when aged care workers called police.

Police confirmed the elderly woman sustained injuries in an altercation, after staff called officers to Yallambee Lodge, near Cooma, on Wednesday morning.

The ABC reports Ms Nowland’s family was by her bedside as she remained in a critical condition on Friday morning.

“The 95-year-old woman was taken to Cooma District Hospital where her condition is being monitored,” NSW Police said on Thursday.

Officers struggled to disarm Ms Nowland before pulling out their tasers and firing at her back and chest, reports said.

Ms Nowland collapsed, sustaining critical injuries.

She had lived at the nursing home the past five years, it has been reported.

The ex-charity store volunteer is well known in the community.

She had bravely celebrated her 80th birthday more than a decade ago by skydiving over Canberra, which was filmed by the ABC.

According to NSW Police guidelines, an officer can use a stun gun when violent resistance is occurring or is imminent or when an officer is in danger of being overpowered.

The Snowy Monaro Regional Council, which runs Yallambee Lodge, said staff followed procedure during the incident.

“Council are supporting our staff, residents, and families during this difficult time,” it said in a statement.

NSW Police said a critical incident investigation had been launched to examine the responding officers’ actions.

The investigation will be subject to independent review.

Clare Nowland went skydiving when she turned 80. Photo: ABC screenshot

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb released a statement on Thursday.

“My thoughts are with the family at this difficult time. I understand and share the community concerns and assure you that we are treating this matter with the utmost seriousness,” she said.

NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Josh Pallas said police should not use stun guns on vulnerable people who were experiencing dementia or a mental health crisis.

“Surely, there must be more appropriate ways to deal with non-compliant people who are suffering,” he said.

Elsewhere, People with Disability Australia president Nicole Lee said it was a “shocking” incident.

“She’s either one hell of an agile, fit, fast and intimidating 95-year-old woman, or there’s a very poor lack of judgment on those police officers and there really needs to be some accountability on their side of this,” Ms Lee told the ABC.

She urged more training for police in de-escalation tactics for people with psychosis or Alzheimer’s or dementia, and those with other mental illnesses.

Yallambee Lodge is a 40-bed facility designed for people who can no longer look after themselves in their own homes, according to the council’s website.

Wednesday’s incident came six months after 78-year-old Sydney identity Danny Lim was hospitalised in an attempted arrest by NSW Police. Mr Lim suffered bleeding on his brain after apparently being thrown to the ground in a confrontation with officers after he was asked to leave the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney’s CBD.

An independent review into Mr Lim’s attempted arrest is yet to report back.

-with AAP

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