- By Antoinette Radford
- BBC news
A 95-year-old woman who was surprised by police at an Australian care home, sparking a public outcry, has died.
Clare Nowland was critically injured after police responded to reports of her wandering around the home with a steak knife around 4 a.m. last Wednesday.
New South Wales Police (NSW) said she died “surrounded by family and loved ones”.
The officer who beat Ms Nowland has been charged with assault.
The 33-year-old senior constable will appear in court in early July charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.
He remains suspended from duty with pay while the investigation continues.
Mrs Nowland lived in a nursing home in the town of Cooma about 114 km (71 miles) south of Canberra, Australia’s capital.
NSW Police said their thoughts and condolences “remain with those who were fortunate enough to know, love and be loved by Ms Nowland during a life she led of family, kindness and community.”
Last week, police said she was “armed” with a steak knife. On Friday, they confirmed she required a walker to move and the officer discharged his Taser after she began to approach “at a slow pace”.
Mrs Nowland is believed to have suffered a fractured skull and severe bleeding on the brain after falling and hitting her head during the incident.
It has prompted calls for a state parliamentary inquiry and the release of police bodycam vision of the confrontation.
In a statement, Mrs Nowland’s family said she was a “well-respected, much-loved and giving member of her community” and the “loving and gentle matriarch of the Nowland family.”
They have asked for privacy after her death.