Man on trial accused of killing former Fettes College teacher

A 65-year-old man has gone on trial accused of killing a former teacher at the prestigious Fettes College in Edinburgh and dumping his body.

Paul Black, from Edinburgh, is accused of killing 75-year-old Peter Coshan in his flat in Leith on either August 11 or 12, 2022.

He denies murder and a string of other charges.

The High Court in Edinburgh was told on Thursday that Black made contact with the retired biology teacher on Gaydar and WhatsApp and lured him to the property on Seafield Road, where he subjected him to a murderous assault.

He is then alleged to have concealed the body in the Edinburgh area for a number of days before putting it in a stolen suitcase and driving it to a layby on the A696 between Otterburn and Belsay in Northumberland.

The court was told that after attempting to dig a grave, he dumped the body next to a wall, disposed of the suitcase, and attempted to dispose of clothing and other items belonging to Mr Coshan.

High Court in Edinburgh
Paul Black is on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh (PA)

He said two of Mr Coshan’s friends, who had also worked at Fettes College, alerted the police after growing concerned about his wellbeing after he stopped replying to their messages.

Their suspicions grew, Mr Keenan said, when they did receive a reply from Mr Coshan at around 6am on August 13 reading: “Sorry phone been playing up getting fixed Tom.”

Mr Keenan described this message as “out of character” for Mr Coshan, who used correct grammar and did not use abbreviations like “Tom” (meaning “tomorrow”), leading his friends, he said, to suspect “the WhatsApp message had not been written by Peter”.

The court was told that in the days after the killing, Black made numerous cash withdrawals from Mr Coshan’s bank account, and used his bank cards to make a number of purchases.

Mr Keenan said these included buying a £860 Tag Heuer watch and £4,300 worth of euros from Ramsdens pawnbrokers in Leith on the morning of August 12.

The court was also told that on August 13, Black used Mr Coshan’s cards to take out two car insurance policies, with one policy being for the Vauxhall Vectra car he is alleged to have used to transport Mr Coshan’s body to Northumberland.

Black, who appeared in court dressed in a white T-shirt and blue tracksuit top, has pleaded not guilty to 18 charges.

The trial continues.

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