A 95-year-old Australian woman has died a week after a police officer shot her with a stun gun.
The incident, which has outraged Australians, happened in a nursing home when the woman approached the officer using a walking frame and holding a steak knife.
Clare Nowland, who had dementia, had been hospitalised in Cooma in New South Wales with a fractured skull suffered when she fell on May 17th after being tasered by Constable Kristian White.
Police announced Ms Nowland’s death hours after reporting that Constable White has been ordered to appear in court on July 5th on charges of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault.
The charges are likely to be upgraded following her death.
White and another police officer had gone to Yallambee Lodge, a nursing home in Cooma that specialises in residents with higher care needs including dementia, after staff reported that Nowland had taken a serrated steak knife from the kitchen.
The violence against an elderly and incapacitated woman has sparked a national debate about the police use of Tasers in such circumstances and the competence of aged care staff.
Police are allowed to use stun guns when lives are in danger.
A coroner will determine the cause of death. Police say her injuries resulted from falling to the floor, not from the electric charge from the Taser.
White has been under police internal investigation since the incident and has been suspended from duty with pay since Tuesday.
White and his police partner on the day have images of the incident from their body cameras, but police have declined to release them.