Police launch poster campaign as part of murder-style probe into death of Wynyard solicitor

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POLICE have launched a poster campaign and are gathering CCTV footage as part of a murder-style inquiry into the death of a solicitor.

Around 30 detectives and police staff are now working full-time investigating the death of Peter Maine, 56, who was found with stab wounds on a path opposite a running track in Durham City.

The married dad of two, who lived in Wynyard and worked at Hall and Co LLP in Easington Colliery, was found dead at Maiden Castle Sports Centre on Sunday.

He was under investigation for fraud by Durham Police in connection with his job as a lawyer and the Solicitors Regulation Authority had also launched an investigation into his conduct.

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.”

A statement on Hall and Co LLP’s webstite stated: “With effect from the 30 September 2011 Hall & Co LLP ceased to trade as solicitors.

“We would ask you not to approach us for any legal advice as we are prohibited by the Legal Services Act 2007 and professional regulations from providing advice after the 30th September 2011.”

Police are treating Mr Maine’s death as suspicious and have set up an incident room at police headquarters in Durham City.

Officers are distributing A4 posters bearing a photograph of Mr Maine in the hope they may prompt other potential witnesses to come forward.

Officers are continuing to go through the initial witness statements already taken and are gathering CCTV footage from a number of cameras in the hope they may provide further clues.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman, who is leading the investigation, said: “Mr Maine’s death remains suspicious, but we have to keep an open mind as to how he came by his injuries.

“We have established a major incident room at police headquarters and we are committing the same resources we would for any homicide investigation.”

Anyone with information regarding Mr Maine’s death is asked to call police on 101 or alternatively call Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555111.