Hunt is on for weapon used to stab Wynyard solicitor to death

Police at the scene near Maiden Castle Sports Centre

Police at the scene near Maiden Castle Sports Centre

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POLICE are still searching for the weapon used to stab solicitor Peter Maine to death.

Puzzled officers are still treating the 56-year-old’s death as “suspicious but unexplained”, and have not ruled out the possibility he took his own life.

Peter Thomas Maine whose body was found in Durham near to Maiden Castle Sports Centre on the morning of Sunday, September 1

Peter Thomas Maine whose body was found in Durham near to Maiden Castle Sports Centre on the morning of Sunday, September 1

Mr Maine, 56, was found on a footpath opposite the running track at Maiden Castle sports centre, on the outskirts of Durham City just after 8am on Sunday.

He had three stab wounds to his chest and was confirmed dead shortly after being taken to the University Hospital of North Durham.

He was discovered just a few feet from the River Wear and search teams have been looking for a weapon in the water and on the banks.

But, the river is quite shallow and not fast flowing and as yet nothing has been found.

Police stress they are keeping an open mind as to how he received his injuries.

Mr Maine, from Wynyard, left a wife, Joanna and two daughters in their early 20s, Lucy and Jessica.

Police have established Mr and Mrs Maine were out for a meal with friends at a restaurant in Yarm on Saturday evening.

The next morning Mr Maine drove to Durham City where he parked his car outside his former business office in Old Elvet, which has now been converted for use as flats for students, at 7.25am.

He carried some items of furniture into the premises before moving his vehicle a short distance to a marked parking bay in the street, after which he set out on his run towards the riverside.

The officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman, said there had been a good response to the release of CCTV footage showing Mr Maine setting out on his run.

He said: “I am encouraged by the response we have had from people coming forward with information. We are working on a number of lines of enquiry, which include building up a picture of Peter’s lifestyle, his friends and associates and his movements in the 24 hours leading up to his death.

“Search teams are continuing to work methodically along the riverside and we are constantly reviewing all the forensic evidence and CCTV footage obtained as part of our enquiries.

“Peter’s family are still coming to terms with what has been an enormous shock, but are giving us every assistance.”

Police have confirmed Mr Maine was arrested in April 2011 by Durham Constabulary as part of a long-running investigation into allegations of mortgage fraud, said to have involved a large number of individuals and companies mainly across the North-East.

He was also facing the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal over an allegation he had dealings with a firm he ought to have known was dubious.

Anyone with information regarding Mr Maine’s death is asked to contact the incident room at police headquarters on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.