Exeter police arrest man Thomas Orchard dies

Scene of Exeter arrest
Image caption Thomas Orchard was arrested by police following a disturbance in Exeter on 3 October

A man who was arrested and restrained by Devon and Cornwall Police has died.

Thomas Orchard was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence in Exeter city centre on 3 October.

The 32-year-old local man was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital with head injuries after police found him "unresponsive" in a custody cell.

The incident was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which confirmed Mr Orchard died in hospital on Wednesday.

An IPCC spokesman said Mr Orchard was from the St Thomas area of the city.

The police watchdog, which will now investigate for the coroner, said it would aim to discover whether or not Mr Orchard's head injuries were sustained during his arrest.

IPCC commissioner Amerdeep Somal said: "This is very sad news and I extend my condolences to Mr Orchard's family and friends.

"We will arrange to meet with his family again when they are ready. We will, of course, keep them informed of the progress of our investigation."

Ms Somal said there had been a good response from the public to a witness appeal and a number of statements had been taken and CCTV footage viewed.

"We also really want to talk to an Asian man, aged about 30 years, who was carrying bags of coins and was involved in a confrontation with Mr Orchard," she said.

"I want to reassure him that he is not in any trouble but may have vital information to assist our investigation."

A post-mortem examination will be carried out and a file prepared for the coroner.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the IPCC.

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