Police have released CCTV footage of a solicitor out jogging minutes before he was stabbed to death.
Peter Maine, who was being investigated in connection with what is alleged to have been the UK’s biggest mortgage fraud, had parked his Range Rover vehicle in Durham’s Old Elvet at 7.25am on Sunday.
He set off on a run that took him past Baths Bridge and onto a footpath opposite the running track at Maiden Castle sports centre. And it is here a passing cyclist found him just after 8am with three stab wounds to his chest.
Mr Maine was part of a long-running and complex probe over alleged £170m “sale and rent back” scam involving Gateshead firms North East Property Buyers and Newcastle Home Loans.
The investigation is believed to cover more than 2,000 mortgage applications. And an independent tribunal Mr Maine was also facing - into his conduct as a lawyer - has been stopped following his death.
However, Det Insp Lyn Peart said the fraud inquiry would continue and a possible link to Mr Maine’s death was being pursued.
Mr Maine, a father-of-two who lived in a £650,000 house on the exclusive gated Wynyard estate near Stockton, was confirmed dead shortly after he arrived at the University Hospital of North Durham.
A murder-style investigation has been under way since Sunday morning, as police say they are treating his death as “suspicious and unexplained”.
Detectives have now released footage taken by two cameras in the city centre showing Mr Maine on his run.
The first piece of film shows him jogging from his vehicle down Old Elvet. He is then captured on the second camera heading down Territorial Lane in the city on his way to the riverside.
The senior investigating officer, Det Chief Insp Steve Chapman said he hoped the film footage would prompt other potential witnesses to come forward.
“The images show Peter just 20 minutes before he was found on the footpath and represent the last confirmed sightings we have of him,” he said.
“I am hoping they may prompt anyone who might have been in Durham city on Sunday morning and seen Peter to come forward.
“There has been a good response to our earlier appeals for information and several people have contacted us to say they were camping in the area around the riverside at the weekend. We will be following up those calls and we are continuing to conduct searches of the Maiden Castle area as part of our investigations.
“Although this death is classed as suspicious I must stress we are keeping an open mind as to how Peter came by his wounds. I hope the CCTV images may give us further clues and help provide answers to the many questions we have.”
Around 30 police are working on the inquiry. Police say there was no sign of a disturbance. Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room at police headquarters on 101 or to ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.