A RETIRED lawyer prompted a large police investigation after accidentally stabbing himself with a potato peeler.

Thomas Friel, 78, was found with stab wounds in the garden by wife Joy, 75. She raised the alarm and police and ambulance crews went to their home in Bothwell, Lanarkshire.

Officers searched the scene and carried out door-to-door inquiries as forensic experts searched woodland that backs on to the Friels' home.

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But last night police said they would not be carrying out further investigations.

Mrs Friel said her husband had been peeling potatoes in the kitchen when he had seen a figure in their back garden and gone to investigate. But as he rushed out he tripped and skewered himself with the utensil before collapsing.

Mrs Friel discovered him ­bleeding heavily and unconscious in the garden when she returned home. Mr Friel is being treated at Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride, where his condition is described as stable.

Mrs Friel said: "I thought he was dead. I can't get the image out of my head. He was unconscious and I called for the ambulance who arrived very quickly.

"We have been told it's a miracle he survived and the blade missed all his vital organs. I found him at 2.10pm but he can't remember exactly when it happened so we have no idea how long he had been lying there.

"It wasn't until 10pm that he regained consciousness and the police were able to speak to him to find out what had happened."

Mrs Friel said he had been peeling potatoes and had rushed out into the garden after seeing the back of someone's head in the garden.

"As he did that he tripped on one of the steps and the peeler went right through his abdomen," she said. I genuinely thought he had been attacked but it was really just an accident.

"He is sitting up in hospital talking now and is very embarrassed about the whole thing.

"He is still in the high dependency unit but he is doing very well and I think he should be home before too long."

A police spokesman said: "There would appear to be no suspicious circumstances."

Mr Friel's brother Gerard, also a lawyer, was murdered in Bonhill, Dunbartonshire, 22 years ago. Alexander Sommerville, 19, was ordered to serve life behind bars for stabbing the 47-year-old in 1992.

Mr Friel was killed as he walked his dog and became involved in a row with two other youths near his home.