A SOLICITOR who died of fatal knife wounds may have inflicted the injuries himself, a coroner has been told.
A coroner’s preliminary review hearing was told Peter Maine, 56, from Wynyard, died from three stab wounds which could have been self-inflicted.
Former Easington Colliery solicitor Mr Maine, a married dad-of-two, was found early in the morning on September 1 last year in Durham City on the opposite side of the River Wear to Maiden Castle sports ground, where Hartlepool United train.
He had parked his car in the centre of the city and jogged along the Pelaw Woods side of the river.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman told the hearing at the Coroner’s Court in Crook: “The post mortem found three stab wounds, two of which were fatal.
“We know this is what killed Mr Maine, but we have not established if there was third party involvement.
“The wounds could have been self-inflicted, but no weapon has been found.
“The blade entered through Mr Maine’s clothing.
“Evidence from other cases nationally suggests a person who stabs themselves usually lifts their clothing before doing so.”
Det Chf Insp Chapman said inquiries found their were 61 people near the riverbank that morning, most of whom have been traced and ruled out of the inquiry.
“We are still looking for seven of those people,” he added. “A woman and two males who were on the Pelaw Woods side of the river, and four males on the Maiden Castle side.
“Having said that, what we know of their demeanour that morning doesn’t give us any cause for concern.”
Det Chf Insp Chapman said police had identified about 200 people with a possible connection to Mr Maine, comprising family, friends, and business associates.
“We have spoken to more than 100 of them,” he added. “So far no suspect has been identified.
“We would still like to speak to anyone who knew Mr Maine, or who may have been near the scene at the time of his death.”
Among those spoken to by police are suspects in a mortgage fraud inquiry in which Mr Maine was implicated.
North Durham Coroner Andrew Tweddle was told police inquiries are likely to be completed by July.
The coroner adjourned the review hearing, and said another will be held when the police investigation is complete.
Anyone with information about Mr Maine is asked to contact Durham Police, telephone 101.
Watch our video of Mr Maine jogging on the morning of his mystery death.