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Solicitor Peter Maine, who was found stabbed to death while under investigation for his part in the UK's largest alleged mortgage fraud, may have taken his own life, the police say.

Father-of-two Peter Maine, 56, was discovered after he went out jogging early on Sunday 1 September, with three stab wounds to his chest.

He went for his regular run at 7.30am and at 7.40am was caught on CCTV, but what happened during the next 20 minutes remains a mystery.

Maine, who lived in a £650,000 house near Stockton in the North-East, was caught up in a long-running investigation into an alleged £170m “sale-and-rent-back” scam involving firms in Gateshead and Newcastle.

The investigation is believed to cover more than 2,000 mortgage applications.

In October, 14 people appeared before magistrates in Darlington charged in connection with the investigation and are on bail from the court.

The police have been investigating a link between Mr Maine's death and the fraud enquiry.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman said that while suicide was a possibility he is continuing to keep an open mind about the solicitor's death and that he could not rule out any plausible explanation for how he came to receive his injuries.

"This remains very much an active investigation into how and why Peter Maine died. No conclusions have been reached and I remain focused on all reasonable scenarios,' he said.

"From day one we have always acknowledged the possibility Peter's wounds may have been self-inflicted, and that remains the case.

"However, there are other equally plausible lines of inquiry, which include third-party involvement, which are being actively progressed."


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