Shocking new details emerge about the past of cop who has been stood down after he Tasered a 95-year-old great grandmother in a nursing home – as the dementia-sufferer is left fighting for life
- Clare Nowland Tasered by police last Wednesday
- Senior Constable Kristian White stood down on pay
- Once blasted by judge over unrelated incident in 2020
A senior constable who allegedly Tasered a frail great-grandmother once unlawfully detained a motorcyclist, with his shift partner allegedly threatening to break the man’s legs, a report has claimed.
Shocking new details have emerged about NSW Police Senior Constable Kristian White, as investigations continue into the incident at Yallambie Lodge nursing home in Cooma in southern NSW.
Clare Nowland, a 95-year-old dementia sufferer was in a walking frame and carrying a knife when Mr White blasted her with a Taser at her aged care home at about 4am last Wednesday.
She’s now in hospital, undergoing end-of-life care, after the blast caused Ms Rowland to fall and hit her head, leaving her with bleeding on the brain.
Senior Constable White has been stood down on full pay and is being supported by members of the local police command as investigations into the incident continue.
It’s since emerged that Mr White and a police colleague were previously criticised by a magistrate over their actions during a confrontation with a member of the public which occurred outside their jurisdiction three years ago.
The two officers confronted a man on a motorbike in a service station in Hume in the ACT and recorded the encounter on their body-worn cameras.
A Canberra court heard the officers suspected Allan Watts, was drug affected and detained him until Australian Federal Police officers arrived at the scene, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Watts was later charged with driving while disqualified and possession of a knife in public.
His solicitor argued the NSW officers had gone outside their jurisdiction and didn’t not have the power to detain him or record on their body-worn cameras.
The court also heard Senior Constable White’s colleague had told Watts they would ‘break your legs’ if he tried to flee.
ACT magistrate Bernadette Boss ruled the police body-worn video footage was inadmissible and dismissed the charges.
She was scathing of the officers and described their conduct as ‘outrageous’, according to an ABC report from the time.
‘I’m horrified by the conduct of these officers,’ Magistrate Boss said.
The second officer in the 2020 incident was not involved in last week’s incident at Yallambie Lodge.
Family of Clare Nowland break their silence
The family of Clare Nowland, the 95-year-old Tasered grandmother, issued a statement on Tuesday saying it is a ‘worrying and distressing time’.
The statement read: ‘The Nowland family wishes to express our profound love and affection for our Mum, Nana and Great Grandmother Clare. Well respected, much loved and a giving member of her local community, Clare is the loving and gentle natured matriarch of the Nowland family.
‘This is a most worrying and distressing time for our family and we are united in our support for Clare and for each other. We stand together. We thank everyone here in Cooma, the wider region and, in fact, the whole country and around the world for the outpouring of support for her and her ongoing battle with dementia – which touches so many.
‘While we fully understand the interest of the media, we kindly ask media representatives to respect the family’s – and Clare’s – privacy at this very difficult time. Thank you to everyone.’
Senior Constable White has 12 years experience in the police force and had been featured on the Monaro Police District Facebook page over the years.
It was reported that the investigation into Mr White is going to centre on what he said before firing the Taser.
Meanwhile, a senior police officer and security guards have been stationed at the hospital where Ms Nowland is fighting for life.
Cooma District Hospital has ramped up security in the wake of national and even international uproar over the incident.
Superintendent John Klepczarek, the Monaro police area commander, is stationed outside her hospital room.
‘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’.
Mr Thaler 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.
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.
A transparent investigation into the incident is urgently needed, according to former NSW police minister Paul Toole.
‘This is a confronting situation for everyone involved, and the Police Minister (Yasmin Catley) needs to provide confidence to the public and to the police,’ he said.
‘The incident has raised serious concerns and ignited public outrage, emphasising the critical need for accountability and clarity,’
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?’.
TIMELINE OF CLARE NOWLAND BEING TASERED BY OFFICER
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
‘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.
NSW POLICE’S INITIAL STATEMENT
A critical incident investigation has been launched after an elderly woman sustained injuries during an interaction with police at an aged care facility in the state’s south today.
The 95-year-old woman was taken to Cooma District Hospital, where her condition is being monitored.
A critical incident team will now investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.
That investigation will be subject to independent review.
No further details are available at this time.
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 forced used was appropriate.