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Mystery as fraud inquiry solicitor stabbed on morning jog
A NORTH-EAST solicitor found dead with "unexplained" stab wounds was under investigation for fraud, it emerged last night.
Peter Thomas Maine was found with multiple stab wounds to his chest on a gravel path near Maiden Castle sports ground, Durham City, at 8am on Sunday (September 1).
Passers-by rushed to his aid but he was pronounced dead in hospital an hour later.
As a murder-style investigation began last night (Monday), it emerged Mr Maine was under investigation for fraud by Durham Police and was facing an independent tribunal into his conduct as a lawyer.
He had been notified in April this year that he was to face prosecution before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority said Mr Maine faced allegations that he "acted as a solicitor in relation to transactions concerning a company which he ought to have known were dubious and thereby acted in a way that was likely to compromise or impair his independence and/or his integrity and/or his good repute or that of the solicitor's profession and/or his duty to act in the bests interests of his clients".
The decision, published in April, adds: "The allegations are subject to a hearing before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and are as yet unproven."
Mr Maine was stabbed while on his regular running route around Durham.
The 56-year-old drove from his home on the exclusive Wynyard estate, near Stockton-on-Tees, parked his black Range Rover Discovery on Old Elvet at 7.30am and started running ten minutes later.
Within 20 minutes, he was found by a cyclist on the east side of the River Wear, in an unresponsive state.
Police want to hear from anyone who was in the area between 7.15am and 8.15am, particularly two campers, a male and a female, believed to have been picked up as an ambulance arrived.
Mr Maine was wearing blue tracksuit bottoms, trainers and a short-sleeved black running top.
Today, the area remained cordoned off as officers from specialist search teams including Northumbria Police’s marine unit searched the Wear and its banks for evidence, including the weapon.
CRIME SCENE: Police investigators near where the body was found
Detective Inspector Lyn Peart said the investigation was very complex with many levels of inquiry, involving 25 detectives.
‘‘We are treating Mr Maine’s death as suspicious," she said. "However, it does remain unexplained and we would appeal to the public for assistance.’’
In a statement Mr Maine’s family said: “Peter was a loving husband to Joanna, a devoted father to Lucy and Jessica and a much loved son of George and brother to Helen.
“Words cannot express how we, his family, are feeling. We would ask that anyone with information regarding what happened to Peter to please contact Durham Constabulary.
“This is a very difficult time for us his loving family and we request that we be afforded privacy in order to try and come to terms with our very sad loss.”
A solicitor of more than 30 years’ experience, Mr Maine moved from criminal law into family, personal injury, conveyancing, commercial property and civil litigation matters with Hall and Co LLP, in Easington Colliery.
* Anyone with information on Mr Maine’s death is asked to call Durham Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.