Man on trial accused of murdering Fettes teacher and dumping body by road

Paul Black is accused of murdering Peter Coshan before putting his body in a suitcase, driving it across the border and dumping it.

Man on trial accused of murdering Fettes teacher and dumping body by road in England Police Scotland

A man has gone on trial accused of murdering a pensioner in Edinburgh and disposing of his body by dumping the remains at the side of a road in England.

Paul Black, 64, allegedly acted with “another” to kill Peter Coshan at a house in the capital’s Leith area in August 2022. 

A jury at the High Court in Edinburgh heard the claim that Black contacted Mr Coshan, 75, on dating app Gaydar and messaging platform WhatsApp. Prosecutors claim that Black pretended to be somebody else “unknown” to Mr Coshan. 

The Crown claims that Black did this to “induce” Mr Coshan to come to the property in Leith where he was killed.

Prosecutors allege that following his death, Mr Coshan’s body was hidden before Black allegedly recovered it and placed it in a suitcase. 

Black is then said to have driven Mr Coshan’s body across the border to a lay-by on a road in Northumberland before attempting to dig a grave. 

The Crown said Mr Coshan’s remains were left there and that Black attempted to defeat the ends of justice by discarding items belonging to him.

The allegations emerged on the first day of proceedings against Black, also of Edinburgh. 

He is standing trial on a total of 18 charges of murder, theft, fraud and attempting to defeat the ends of justice. 

At the start of proceedings on Thursday, jurors heard the contents of a legal document detailing the charges that Black, who is also known as Joseph Hillary, is standing trial on. 

The document states that Mr Coshan lived at an address on South Learmonth Gardens in Edinburgh. 

Prosecutors claim that on August 11 or August 12, 2022, at a property in Seafield Road in Edinburgh, Black, whilst acting with another, assaulted Mr Coshan and by “means unknown” inflicted an injury on him  “whereby he bled”. It is claimed that Black then struggled with Mr Coshan and that he “did murder him”. 

Jurors heard that Black lived at the property with a man called Paul McNaughton. 

It is also alleged that Black pretended to Police Scotland officers who investigating the whereabouts of Mr Coshan that he was not known to him and had not “attended” the property in Seafield Road, Edinburgh on August 11, 2022. 

Black is also alleged to have purchased bleach, air freshener and various cleaning products, two washing lines, two spades and a duvet in the time following Mr Coshan’s death

The legal document also alleges that on various occasions between March 1 2022 and March 6 2022, Black made contact with Mr Coshan “via Gaydar” and “WhatsApp Messenger” and pretended to him that he was communicating with a male that was “previously unknown to him”.  

Prosecutors say that this male said he was staying at an ‘Airbnb in Edinburgh’.

It’s claimed that Black “did induce” Mr Coshan to come to the flat in Seafield Road with the belief that he was meeting this male and that Black obtained his attendance at the address by “fraud”. 

Black is also standing trial on fraud and theft charges. 

Prosecutors claim that between September 11, 2021 and September 14, 2021, Black, whilst acting with another, used “means unknown” to the Crown, to obtain the login details of Mr Coshan. 

It is said that Black accessed the deceased’s TSB Bank accounts online and by telephone and he did this without Mr Coshan’s “permission”.

It is claimed that on September 12, 2021, Black transferred £8,000 from the TSB account. It is alleged that on September 14, 2021, he transferred £10,000 from the TSB account and that it was placed into a Monzo account “in the name of Paul McNaughton”. Prosecutors state in this charge that Black stole a total of £18,000.

Black has pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

His lawyers have also lodged a special defence stating that their client did not commit any of the alleged crimes. 

The special defence states that if the crimes had been committed, the person responsible for them was the man called Paul McNaughton, whose location was described being “care of HMP Edinburgh”.

The trial, before judge Lord Scott, continues. 

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