‘Callous and brutal’ killer who lured retired teacher on Gaydar sentenced to life in prison

Retired teacher Peter Coshan was killed in Edinburgh in August 2022

A man who murdered a retired teacher, after luring him to his death on a gay dating app, has been sentenced to life in prison – and will serve a minimum term of 22 years.

Paul McNaughton, 29, who admitted murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice at an earlier hearing last year, was sentenced at Glasgow High Court on Monday (17 June).

McNaughton murdered 75-year-old Peter Coshan, who had taught biology at Tony Blair’s old school, Fettes College, in a flat in Leith, north of Edinburgh, in August 2022 after using a catfishing scam that involved a fake profile on Gaydar, to lure him to the address.

After meeting online in 2021, McNaughton went on to steal tens of thousands of pounds from the former teacher.

When he found out, Coshan threatened to go to the police unless McNaughton offered him free sexual favours, the court heard. 

‘Fed up’ McNaughton plotted murder

McNaughton planned the his murder after he become “fed up” with the situation, the Irish News reported.

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His flatmate, Paul Black, 65, helped hide the body before they put it in a suitcase and dumped it next to a wall in a lay-by in Northumberland.

Black, who blamed McNaughton for the killing, was cleared of murder at a trial in May, with the jury returning a not proven verdict, but sentenced to a minimum of five-and-half-years in jail after being pleading guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice. 

‘A callous and brutal murder’

Moira Orr, who leads on homicide and major crime for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, described McNaughton’s crime as “a callous and brutal murder of an elderly man who was quietly enjoying his retirement”. 

She added: He had a positive impact on the lives of so many people. But his own life was cut short by the despicable actions of Paul McNaughton.”

Sentencing McNaughton, judge Lord Scott said Coshan was a “gentle and committed friend” who enjoyed life despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease five years before his death, the BBC reported.

“You exploited his illness and vulnerabilities over a period of time before deciding that he must die,” the judge added. You planned to murder him entirely for your own benefit.

“You and your co-accused covered up the crime to avoid the consequences of this awful act. Having exploited Peter Coshan in life, you continued to do so in his death,” the judge added, according to The Guardian.

Lord Scott told Black that Coshan was shown “no respect and offered no dignity” following his murder.

“What you did to conceal his murder means his family and friends don’t know and may never know what happened in his final moments. The cause of his death cannot be ascertained and your actions have exacerbated the trauma caused to his family and friends.”

John Scullion, defending McNaughton, told the court that there was a “pre-meditated nature” to his client’s actions.

Appearing for Black, Tony Lenehan said: “On the evidence, it’s accepted that he was completely subordinate to Mr McNaughton. The general nature of the trial was that he was infatuated with him and he played a subordinate role and he will be punished for that.”

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