Inquest begins into death of Thomas Orchard a week after officers placed a restraint belt around his face

The family of a vulnerable man who collapsed while in police custody after a heavy webbing belt was placed around his face say they hope their questions about his death will finally be answered at his inquest after 11 “tortuous” years.

Thomas Orchard, 32, who had a history of mental illness, was arrested in Exeter in October 2012 following a disturbance and taken to Heavitree Road police station in the city. He had a cardiac arrest after the US-made emergency response belt was held over his face and died a week later.

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