Family pays tribute to Australian woman, 95, who died after police taser

By Alasdair Pal

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The family of a 95-year-old woman who died after being tasered by police in Australia paid tribute to her on Thursday, as the premier of the state where the incident occurred expressed confidence in its police force.

Clare Nowland, who had dementia, died in hospital on Wednesday, police in New South Wales (NSW) said.

She was tasered after staff found her holding a knife outside her room in the care home where she lived in Cooma in southeastern Australia on May 17, police said at the time.

The case has caused outrage in Australia, and brought into focus the use of force by police in the country.

The senior constable involved in the incident will appear in court next week on charges of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.

In another case, a NSW police officer was found guilty of assault on Monday after an incident involving a 16-year-old boy from the country's Indigenous community in 2020.

In statement to the local Monaro Post newspaper on Thursday, Nowland's family said she died "surrounded by the love and support of her family".

"We wish to thank the staff at Cooma Hospital for their care and support for Clare and our family," the statement said.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said he has confidence in NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb and Police Minister Yasmin Catley, adding that police resources in the state were stretched.

"I know that resources are stretched, particularly for NSW Police, and police have to attend a whole range of events involving many, many different scenarios," he told reporters.

(Reporting by Alasdair Pal in Sydney; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)