Church caretaker, 32, died in police custody when officers tied restraining belt around his face

Thomas Orchardoriginally by: Mail Online 
published: 7 October 2013

Four police officers are facing prosecution after a prisoner died in custody when a restraining belt was fixed across his face. Church caretaker Thomas Orchard, 32, collapsed in a police cell after the belt was fastened across his mouth to stop him from ‘spitting or biting’ following his arrest in October last year, it has been reported.

Mr Orchard, who suffered from schizophrenia, was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead on [10 October 2013] after a week in a coma.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission submitted a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether charges should be brought against four officers from Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, two members of the custody staff and a nurse employed by a contractor.

According to a report in The Times, a Government memorandum seen by the newspaper has suggested an emergency response belt was used on Mr Orchard to stop him from ‘spitting or biting’.

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