Police officer may face charges after man died in Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital after arrest
Criminal charges are being considered against a Devon and Cornwall Policeman after a 32-year-old church caretaker died in police custody.
Thomas Orchard, who worked at St Thomas Church in Cowick Street, Exeter, was arrested on October 3 last year on suspicion of a public order offence.
While in a cell, he became unresponsive and was rushed to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. He died in hospital a week later.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating the circumstances surrounding his death, later confirmed he had suffered “serious head injuries”.
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In a statement the commission confirmed it had now “submitted a file of evidence” to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). It said the file “relates specifically to one officer during Mr Orchard’s arrest and the level of force used”.
Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: “This is a criminal investigation and we have, at an early stage, submitted a file of evidence to the CPS. Our investigation continues and may lead to further evidence being passed to prosecutors.
“The IPCC has been informed by Devon and Cornwall Constabulary that it has made a decision to place six members of its officers and members of custody staff on restricted duties.
“While this is a decision for the force to make as the employer, the IPCC made representations that they be suspended pending the consideration of criminal charges.
“We also continue to keep Mr Orchard’s family regularly informed of the progress of our investigation.”
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said he was unable to comment because of the ongoing IPCC investigation.