Man cleared of murdering retired Fettes College teacher following trial

Peter Coshan
Peter Coshan -Credit:Police Scotland

A 65-year-old man has been cleared of murdering a retired Fettes College teacher whose body was found next to a wall in Northumberland.

Paul Black, 65, was on trial at Edinburgh High Court accused of the murder of Peter Coshan, 75, at his flat in Leith on either August 11 or 12 2022.

On Friday, the jury returned a not proven verdict on the murder charge, however, Black was found guilty of perverting the course of justice, after admitting this during the course of the trial.

Coshan, a former biology teacher, had been lured to Black's Seafield Road address by his flatmate, Paul McNaughton, who pleaded guilty to his murder last year.

The jury retired to begin its deliberations on Friday and returned its verdict in the afternoon.

Peter Coshan's family released a statement through Police Scotland following the trial.

Paul McNaughton pled guilty to the murder last year
Paul McNaughton pled guilty to the murder last year -Credit:Police Scotland

It said: "Firstly, we would like to thank Police Scotland, including our family liaison officers, for the support they have given us since Peter went missing in August 2022.

"We would like thank everyone who took part in the search for Peter and the investigation that took place afterwards. So many people have been involved in this process and too many to mention.

"Our appreciation also to the court service for their support and ensuring we were kept in the picture about the progress of the case.
We have been grateful for the constant support from our own family and friends, along with Peter’s friends from Fettes College and his university days, amongst others.

"Their continued support has without doubt helped us through this nightmare and has been an amazing display of the best of human nature. This is in stark contrast to the worst of human nature, which was displayed by the individual who took Peter’s life.

"We remain horrified that anybody could have treated a vulnerable 75-year-old in such a despicable manner. Our life will never be the same and we will always ask the question - 'What if?'.

Peter Coshan worked as a biology teacher at Fettes College in Edinburgh before retiring.
Peter Coshan worked as a biology teacher at Fettes College in Edinburgh before retiring. -Credit:PA

"There is of course no answer to ‘What if’, as events have overtaken us and there is no going back in time. However, we have happy memories of Peter and can reflect on the positive impact he had on so many people’s lives. We would ask that our privacy is respected at this time."

Speaking following the trial, Detective Superintendent Andrew Patrick, senior investigating officer, said: "This was a horrendous crime which has left Dr Coshan's family absolutely devastated and our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.

"Not only did McNaughton brutally take Dr Coshan's life, he then set out to get away with his crimes by callously disposing of his body at a layby almost 100 miles away from his home.

"His despicable actions showed no regard for his life, or for the suffering and anguish he caused his relatives and friends. This was a challenging and complex investigation involving a range of specialist officers working closely with Northumbria Police and our partners in forensic services.

"I would also like to thank the public for their support throughout the investigation."

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