Thomas Orchard: Police officers avoid misconduct hearing over custody death

Thomas Orchard
Thomas Orchard

source: The Independent
published: 13 July 2019

The family of a church caretaker who died after being restrained in police custody say they feel “failed beyond belief” by a decision to dismiss misconduct charges against four officers.

Thomas Orchard, 32, suffered a cardiac arrest when he was locked in a cell in Exeter with an emergency response belt placed around his face in October 2012.

He died in hospital seven days later and earlier this year Devon and Cornwall Police was fined £234,500 after admitting health and safety breaches.

However the force announced on Friday the disciplinary proceedings involving custody sergeant Jan Kingshott and three other officers had been discontinued.

An independent panel concluded the officers could not have a fair hearing because of the delay in dealing with the case, disclosure issues and “a departure from the regulatory framework”.

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