Thomas Orchard: Court releases film showing 'fatal' restraint of mentally ill man

The 32-year-old who had paranoid schizophrenia suffered a heart attack after a large belt was placed around his face

Ian Johnston
Thursday 25 February 2016 00:26

Film of a mentally ill man allegedly being fatally injured by police has been released by a court where three officers are on trial for manslaughter.

Thomas Orchard, 32, who had paranoid schizophrenia, suffered a heart attack after a large belt was placed around his face; it is claimed that this restricted his breathing. He died in hospital a week later, in October 2012.

He was arrested in Exeter after reportedly trying to kick passers-by. Police took him to the city’s main police station, where cameras showed him being bundled into the custody suite.

Mr Orchard, who is handcuffed and bent double by several officers, can be seen trying to kick backwards at one officer.

He is forced to lie flat on the ground and an “emergency response belt” – normally used on limbs – is put round his face, while restraints are tied to his legs. One officer holds the handles of the belt at the back of his head.

He is then carried to a cell and put down on a thin mattress on the floor by four officers, who spend several minutes removing the restraints. While being carried in, he shows no sign of movement and appears unconscious when they leave.

Custody sergeant Jan Kingshott, 44, and civilian detention officers Simon Tansley, 38, and Michael Marsden, 55, deny manslaughter.

The trial continues.

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