Exeter police may be charged over Thomas Orchard death

St Thomas Thomas Orchard was a caretaker at St Thomas Church in Exeter

Related Stories

Police officers and staff could face prosecution over the death of a man who collapsed in an Exeter police cell.

Church caretaker Thomas Orchard, 32, died on 10 October last year in hospital, seven days after his arrest in the city centre.

The police watchdog confirmed it has now asked prosecutors to consider charging four police officers, two custody staff and an agency nurse.

The Devon and Cornwall force declined to comment on the investigation.

Mr Orchard, a caretaker at St Thomas Church in Exeter, was arrested on the morning of 3 October on suspicion of a public order offence, according to the file from the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

'Quiet and devout'

Just over an hour later Mr Orchard was taken by ambulance to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital as he was "unresponsive in his cell".

IPCC commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: "It will be a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service to determine whether criminal charges will be brought against any of those police staff involved in Mr Orchard's detention on that day."

The force said the four officers and two staff had been placed on "restricted duties", despite calls by the IPCC for them to be suspended.

The force said in a statement: "We would not comment on the investigation or status of the officers other than to say they remain on restricted duties."

The Reverend Ann Dowdeswell of St Thomas Church said Mr Orchard, who had been employed at the church for at least a year, "was a really important and valuable member of our staff".

She said: "He was quiet and devout.

"He joined the church as a member of the congregation and is sorely missed by everyone."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Cornwall



Min. Night 8 °C

Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Woman standingMysterious miracle

    It's extremely unusual and shouldn't give false hope, but what makes the body beat cancer on its own?


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach - why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.