IPCC seeks male witness following arrest of man in Exeter city centre

Published: 11 Oct 2012

The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the circumstances of the arrest of a man in Exeter city centre on 3 October 2012 will now be an investigation for the Coroner as well following the death of 32-year-old Thomas Orchard just after 6pm yesterday in hospital.

IPCC Commissioner Amerdeep Somal said: “This is very sad news and I extend my condolences to Mr Orchard’s family and friends. We will arrange to meet with his family again when they are ready. We will, of course, keep them informed of the progress of our investigation.

“I want to thank the many members of the public who have already come forward in response to the IPCC witness appeal last week. We have already taken a large number of statements and viewed CCTV footage.

“We also really want to talk to an Asian man, aged about 30 years, who was carrying bags of coins and was involved in a confrontation with Mr Orchard. I want to reassure him that he is not in any trouble but may have vital information to assist our investigation. He can contact us by telephone or email and one of our investigators will arrange to speak to him.”

The IPCC will investigate Mr Orchard’s death and prepare an investigation report for the coroner. A Home Office pathologist will carry out a post mortem in the next few days.

Witnesses can contact the IPCC in confidence on 0800-096-9077 or email [email protected]

Police were called to a report of a disturbance at the junction of High Street and Paris Street shortly before 11 am on 3 October. Police attended, resulting in Thomas Orchard being restrained and arrested on suspicion of a public order offence. He was taken at about 11.10am by police van to custody at Heavitree Road Police Station.

The 32-year-old man was wearing dark clothing, a baseball cap and glasses. It is believed he was speaking to several people shortly before his arrest including a white man wearing a brown jacket and carrying a leather bag aged in his mid 20s, an Asian man in his early 20s wearing a black T-shirt, a white middle-aged woman wearing a purple anorak, and a white man aged around 30. A number of people milling around a tourist coach nearby may also have witnessed events.

Concerns developed for Mr Orchard’s health when he became.unresponsive while he was inacustody cell. At about 12.15 pm he was taken by ambulance to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, where he subsequently died just after 6pm on 10 October.

  • Devon and Cornwall Police
  • Custody and detention
  • Death and serious injury
  • Use of force and armed policing
  • Welfare and vulnerable people