Devon

Man died after 'unlawful police restraint'

Left to right, Jan Kingshott, Michael Marsden and Simon Tansley
Image caption Sgt Jan Kingshott, Michael Marsden and Simon Tansley deny manslaughter

A church warden died after he was "unlawfully" restrained by police officers for more than 20 minutes while in custody, a court has heard.

Thomas Orchard, 32, who had schizophrenia, died in October 2012 after being arrested in Exeter and collapsing at a police station.

He suffered a cardiac arrest in his cell after being restrained, with a belt put across his face, it was said.

Three officers deny manslaughter charges.

Custody Sgt Jan Kingshott, 43, and detention officers Simon Tansley, 37, and Michael Marsden, 54, each face two joint charges.

Bristol Crown Court heard Mr Orchard had been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence by Devon and Cornwall Police and was in custody at at Exeter's main police station.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Thomas Orchard died after being arrested in Exeter

After suffering a cardiac arrest, he was held down then freed from the restraints - making little or no movement - and left lying face down on a mattress.

The court was told it was a further 12 minutes before officers re-entered Mr Orchard's locked cell and discovered he was not breathing.

He died in hospital seven days later.

Prosecutor Mark Heywood QC told the court: "He was physically restrained - both in the street, the custody unit and the van in between - for a total period of 22 minutes.

"For a significant part of the restraint time at the custody unit, he also had a webbing belt -and, to give it its full name, an emergency response belt, known as an ERB - applied over the whole or part of his face, including at times his nose and mouth."

The first charge alleges the trio carried out an act or series of acts which unlawfully killed Mr Orchard and the second alleges they unlawfully killed Mr Orchard by gross negligence.

The trial continues.

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