Thomas Orchard: Police custody death trial halted

Thomas Orchard sister 2013
Thomas Orchard’s sister with families at UFFC 2013 demo

all credits: BBC News
published: 21 March 2016

The trial of three police staff accused of killing a man in custody has been halted for legal reasons.

Thomas Orchard, 32, had schizophrenia and died in October 2012 after being arrested in Exeter. Custody sergeant Jan Kingshott, 44, and civilian detention officers Simon Tansley, 38, and Michael Marsden, 55 were on trial for manslaughter.

The judge at Bristol Crown Court told the jury the 11-week trial “cannot continue”.

Mr Orchard suffered a heart attack at Heavitree Road Police Station and died later in hospital.

The judge, Mr Justice King, told the jury of seven men and four women: “I have decided this trial cannot continue. I appreciate this may be a disappointment to you given the number of weeks you have sat. Given there may be a re-trial we cannot say anymore.”

Julian Evans, for the Crown, told the court it was the intention for there to be a re-trial.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it would wait for a decision regarding a retrial before dealing with “disciplinary matters”.

Tom Milsom, associate commissioner of the IPCC, added: “I appreciate the trial has been a difficult experience for everybody involved, in particular Mr Orchard’s family who have listened with dignity and strength to painful details about his tragic and untimely death.

“The IPCC carried out a thorough investigation which led to the Crown Prosecution Service conducting these prosecutions.”

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