POLICE watchdogs are to launch an investigation into the death of a man eight weeks after he was arrested by North Yorkshire officers.

The Police Complaints Authority will examine the circumstances that led to the death of 33-year-old Patrick Lowther.

Mr Lowther, from Cornfield Road, Stockton, was arrested on November 12 last year for alleged drink-driving at Thorpe Willoughby, near Selby.

But while he was being taken to the police station in York by van he lapsed into unconsciousness.

Despite police efforts to resuscitate him he was still unconscious when an ambulance arrived to take him to York District Hospital.

He was later transferred to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, where he died last Friday, without regaining consciousness.

A post-mortem examination has established that Mr Lowther died of pneumonia.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said last night: "Technically, although he spent the last eight weeks in hospital, Mr Lowther died in police custody and we have referred the matter to the Police Complaints Authority, which will oversee an investigation into the circumstances."

* Ten days ago it was revealed that the Police Complaints Authority has been called in to investigate a crash at Scarthingwell crossroads, near Tadcaster, in which a 21-year-old man was killed.