Police negligence

Death due to police negligence | Thomas Orchard didn’t bite or spit

Church caretaker with mental health issues died due to police negligence when restrained by three officers who face manslaughter charges

Source: Thomas Orchard trial: mother tells court he did not bite or spit | UK news | The Guardian

Police negligence missed seven alerts

A 32-year-old man who died due to police negligence “tried to alert officers” to him whilst he was having medical problems, a jury heard.

Thomas Orchard, who worked as a church cleaner, had schizophrenia. He suffered a cardiac arrest at Heavitree Road Police Station in Exeter in 2012. Custody sergeant Jan Kingshott, 45, and civilian detention officers Simon Tansley, 39, and Michael Marsden, 56, deny manslaughter by gross negligence.

Bristol Crown Court showed CCTV of the time Mr Orchard spent in his cell.  The court heard how Mr Orchard suffered a relapse of his mental illness. It was during this relapse the police arrested him, on Sidwell Street, on suspicion of a public order offense.

Unconscious because of police negligence

He was found unconscious at Heavitree Road Police Station in Exeter. Mr Orchard died seven days later in hospital. Mr Orchard’s legs were in straps for more than four minutes. An emergency response belt placed around his head for five minutes, the court heard.

Please be aware that this may upset some viewers:


Emergency response belt misused by officers

Thomas Orchard had an Emergency Response Belt applied over his face which covered his nose and mouth, the court heard. The court heard these belts are designed for restraining detainees around the body. But are occasionally used to prevent spitting or biting.

An emergency response belt similar to the one used in the Thomas Orchard case
Emergency Response Belt

One defendant, Mr Kingshott said it was used because Mr Orchard was a danger and made threats to bite.  Mr Kingshott said he had monitored Mr Orchard in the cell via a CCTV screen in his office.

Officers deny manslaughter

Sgt Jan Kingshott and civilian detention officers Michael Marsden and Simon Tansley deny manslaughter by gross negligence. The prosecution says Mr Orchard made “sporadic shouts” seven times with words believed including “let go”. Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC told the court: “What you don’t see is a man fighting. He said nothing, he did nothing”. “We invite the conclusion that he wasn’t in a position to do anything as a result of what he’d been subjected to by those detaining him”.

The jury heard a pathologist found the use of the belt was neither the main or sole factor in Mr Orchard suffering a cardiac arrest. However, it was a “contributing factor”.
The trial continues.

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Alan is a mental health service user in Cornwall, UK. Although generally the NHS has been very good with his care, their are some weak links. Thats why he started this blog, to share experiences and resources on various mental health illnesses. Also, to bring the headlines about mental health to the foreground. Alan enjoys walking his dogs, taking photos, watching movies and playing the PS4 :-)

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