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SANE comments on verdict in Thomas Orchard case
Added: 14th Mar 2017

Three police staff have been cleared of the manslaughter of Thomas Orchard who died after being restrained in custody.

Mr Orchard, 32, who had schizophrenia, died a week after suffering a cardiac arrest in a police cell in Exeter in 2012.

Custody sergeant Jan Kingshott and civilian detention officers Simon Tansley and Michael Marsden were found not guilty after a trial at Bristol Crown Court. The men had denied gross negligence manslaughter.

The court was told that an emergency response belt was placed around his head.

Commenting on the verdict, Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of SANE, says: "We share the family’s dismay at the way in which Thomas Orchard was treated in police custody and the failure to recognise that he was mentally ill.

“People with mental health problems are four times more likely to die under restraint than the general population, which shows how vital it is that a prompt psychiatric assessment is made before a person is taken to a police cell rather than hospital.

“No-one should ever be left alone in these circumstances, especially those who are already terrified, confused and unable to understand what is happening to them.

“We call for better police training and monitoring of restraint, and greater use of ‘street triage’ schemes where police attend incidents with a trained psychiatric nurse.”

To read more about the case, click here.

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