Man admits murdering former private school teacher who disappeared from home 

Dr Peter Coshan who taught at Fettes College in Edinburgh was found dead in Northumberland.

Man admits murdering ex-Fettes teacher Peter Coshan who disappeared from home in Edinburgh Police Scotland

A man has admitted murdering a retired private school teacher and then hiding his body in a suitcase more than 80 miles away.

Paul McNaughton, 28, killed Peter Coshan, 75, at a flat in Seafield Road in Leith, Edinburgh on August 11 or 12 2022.

The body of the former Fettes College biology teacher was discovered weeks later on September 4 in Northumberland after he was reported missing.

McNaughton appeared for a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday, August 2, 2023.

His KC John Scullion said he was pleading guilty to charges of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Prosecutor John Keenan KC told judge Lord Clark that he was accepting the pleas tendered.

McNaughton was remanded in custody and now faces a life sentence.

He was joined in the dock by Paul Black, 64, who pled not guilty to the same charges.

Black will now stand trial next May. McNaughton will be sentenced at the end of that case.

The murder charge McNaughton admitted to stated he inflicted injury or injuries on Dr Coshan “by means unknown”.

The pensioner, of the capital’s Stockbridge, is said to have bled and that McNaughton struggled with him.

The indictment further narrates the killer had previously shown “ill will” towards Dr Coshan.

The attempt to defeat the ends of justice charge spans between August 11 and 16, 2022.

In a bid to cover up what happened, Dr Coshan’s body is initially said to have been hidden at an unknown location in Edinburgh.

Calls and texts to his family and a friend were made pretending to be him.

Prosecutors state police then investigating the whereabouts of the OAP were lied to.

A car was purchased and cameras inside it disconnected.

Bleach, an air freshener, various cleaning products, two washing lines, two spades and a duvet were also bought.

The indictment further narrates that an initial drive from Edinburgh to Northumberland was made overnight on August 14 and 15.

The hidden body of Dr Coshan was then collected from where it was in the capital, put in a suitcase and dumped in the boot of the motor.

A journey was made to a lay-by between Otterburn and Belsay in Northumberland.

The case and body was removed with attempts then made to dig a makeshift grave.

The ex-teacher was eventually hidden next to a wall and the case disposed of.

McNaughton had faced a number of other accusations which prosecutors accepted not guilty pleas for.

They included a fraud claim that, in the weeks before the murder, contact had been made with Dr Coshan via different apps.

The pensioner is said to have believed he was communicating with a male “previously unknown to him”, who was staying at an Airbnb at the property in Seafield Road.

The charge claims Dr Coshan was “induced” to go to the flat by means of “false pretence”.

McNaughton had also allegedly stolen tens of thousands of pounds from the online bank accounts of the OAP as well as using his cards to buy goods at different shops.

The indictment stated the Crown may also have led evidence that McNaughton alone did “harass” Dr Coshan for money and cause him to provide cash on a “regular basis”.

It is claimed McNaughton threatened to bring his pets and move into the ex-teacher’s home if he refused his demands.

He is said to have effectively blackmailed the pensioner into handing over money.

Black – who is also known as Joseph Hillary – remains accused of being involved in the murder, attempting to defeat the ends of justice, fraud and theft.

His KC Tony Lenehan lodged a special defence of incrimination.

Lord Clark first told McNaughton: “You have pled guilty to a charge of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice including concealing the body of the man you murdered.

“You have pled not guilty to the other charges. The advocate depute has accepted your pleas.”

The judge later told Black: “A trial will be fixed to start on May 7, 2024, at the High Court in Edinburgh for eight days.”

McNaughton will return to be sentenced once that is completed.

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