Battle over death in Exeter police cell moves into third year

Thomas Orchardsource: Western Morning News
published: 9 October 2014

The family of a church caretaker who died after being restrained in police custody say they have lost faith in the police and legal system after two years passed without any charges being brought.

Thomas Orchard, who worked at St Thomas Church in Exeter, died at the age of 32 following his arrest in the city centre on October 3, 2012, on suspicion of a public order offence.

He was bound in handcuffs and leg restraints when he was taken into a cell and lost consciousness half an hour later, eventually slipping into a coma. Mr Orchard, who suffered from schizophrenia, died at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on October 10. The two-year anniversary is tomorrow.

It has since emerged that an emergency restraint belt had been used as a “spit hood” on Mr Orchard while he was being detained at Heavitree Road police station.

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