Brother of Thomas Orchard welcomes "seriousness" of charges being considered

Thomas Orchardby: Exeter Express and Echo 
published: 20 November 2013

The brother of a man who died after a restraint was tied across his face in police custody has welcomed the charges being considered against the officers involved.

The Crown Prosecution Service has told the family of Thomas Orchard they are considering charges ranging from manslaughter by an unlawful act, manslaughter by gross negligence, corporate manslaughter, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office. No decisions have been made and the family said they are not expecting to be told until January.

But they said they were bracing themselves for a “horrendous” fight for justice.

Thomas Orchard died a year ago at the age of 32 after the restraint was placed across his face at Heavitree Road Police station following his arrest in the city centre. The church caretaker and diagnosed schizophrenic bound in handcuffs and leg restraints when he was taken into a cell.

He lost consciousness half an hour later and despite being placed in an induced coma he never recovered.

His brother Jack Orchard said: “The CPS have now released to us which charges they are considering at the moment against the officers and the staff involved.

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