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Solicitor "may have killed himself"

Police have told a coroner that a Durham solicitor may have killed himself, although they admit the case remains a mystery.

CCTV showing him setting off for a run twenty minutes before he was found stabbed still remains the clearest image of his last movements.

Peter Maine minutes before his death Credit: ITV News

At an inquest update today this morning Police told a coroner that the absence of any signs of a struggle or restraint on Mr Maine's body suggest his wounds might have been self inflicted.

But detailed searches have failed to find a knife.

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Solicitor death remains a mystery

Peter Maine Credit: ITV News

Detectives have told a coroner they still can't be sure whether Durham solicitor Peter Maine was murdered or took his own life.

The 56 year old was being investigated over fraud allegations at the time of his death.

He was found stabbed in his running gear close to a Durham sports centre last year. CCTV footage showed him setting off for a run twenty minutes before he was found stabbed.

At a hearing today police told a coroner that the absence of any signs of a struggle or restraint on Mr Maine's body suggest his wounds might have been self inflicted.

But detailed searches have failed to find a knife.

And police admit the fact the wounds went through Mr Maine's clothing would often be viewed as being more consistent with unlawful killing than a self inflicted injury.

Many potential witnesses have been spoken to but police say three in particular remain untraced.

Police officer jailed for fraud

A Durham County police officer has been jailed for 8 months after pleading guilty to fraud.

Darren Hart, 41, forged his father's will to stop his wife from inheriting anything.

Mr Hart was in the middle of divorce proceedings when his father died in 2011.

Ronald Hart left £43,000 and no will. But he had left a note saying he did not want his son's wife to benefit.

Darren Hart got a friend, Peter Atkinson, 27, to sign the note to make it look like a legal document.

Mr Atkinson went to the police weeks later and confessed what they had done.

Darren Hart from High Green, Darlington, who has since resigned from the force, was jailed for eight months.

Peter Atkinson from Mickleton, Barnard Castle, was given a five months jail sentence, suspended for 12 months and 20 hours unpaid work.

Ice causes road closure

The A66, one of the north's main roads, has been closed because of "severe ice".

Durham Police say the move follows a series of accidents on Christmas morning.

The road connects the North East with the North West, and has been closed in both directions at Bowes in County Durham.

Low overnight temperatures have left ice and black ice as driving hazzards across the North East and police are urging motorists to slow down, and to drive with care.

Abuse "victims" are compensated

Lawyers representing victims of alleged abuse at a public school in Durham say the school's insurers have paid out damages, reported to run into tens of thousands of pounds.Durham

Police have confirmed today that an investigation into historic sexual abuse at The Chorister School has ended.

No criminal charges will be made because police found no evidence to suggest any named person still alive had been responsible for any criminal offence, alleged to have taken place in the 1950's and 1960's.

23 former pupils told police they had been sexually abused by the school's former headmaster, Canon John Drove, who died in 2001.

All the allegations concerned someone who died several years ago, which of course means there cannot be any prosecution. Our main focus has been to give the victims a chance to unburden themselves and to feel they have been listened to.We have also made sure they have access to the appropriate specialistsupport.”

– Detective Sergeant David Walton, Durham Police

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School abuse investigation ends

A police investigation into alleged historic sexual abuse at a public school in County Durham has been closed without any criminal charges.

23 former pupils of The Chorister School told police they had been sexually abused by the school's headmaster, Canon John Drove, in the late 1950s and 1960s.

However as Canon Grove, who worked at the school from 1957 to 1978, died in 2001 Durham Police have found no evidence to suggest any named person still alive had been responsible for any criminal offence and so the investigation has been closed.

Lord MacKenzie of Framwellgate faces House of Lords ban

Lord MacKenzie of Framwellgate. Credit: IAN NICHOLSON/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A North East peer is likely to be barred from the House of Lords for six months, for serious misconduct.

Former Durham Police officer, Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate, was suspended from the Labour Party in June.

He was filmed boasting to undercover reporters that he could help influence policy, in return for payments.

Lord MacKenzie denied he broke the rules, but a Parliamentary Committee has today (December 16) decided that his misconduct was serious enough to warrant a suspension.

New charity calendar features canine cops

Harry the retired Durham police dog whose colleagues are now calendar pin-ups. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Dog-lovers are being invited to make a date with Durham's canine cops, and help a newly-established charity at the same time.

Earlier this year officers from the force's dog section established 'Paws Up', a benevolent fund for retired police dogs.

It has been created to look after the welfare of police dogs when they retire from service.

'Paws Up' will help fund pet insurance, food, toys and bedding.

The charity has produced a 2014 calendar featuring serving and retired police dogs.

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