Nicholas Rossi: Arrested man is missing US fugitive, court rules

Nicholas Rossi
Nicholas Rossi had insisted he was really an Irish orphan called Arthur Knight. He has been held in Edinburgh's Saughton prison (Image: PA Media)

A man arrested in a Scottish hospital last year is US fugitive Nicholas Rossi, a court has ruled.

The man had claimed to have been the victim of mistaken identity, and insisted his name was Arthur Knight.

But Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that his tattoos and fingerprints matched those of Rossi.

Authorities in the US are seeking Rossi’s extradition over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

It is alleged that he faked his own death and fled to Scotland to escape prosecution.

He had spent the past year insisting that he was Arthur Knight, an orphan from Ireland who had never been to the US.

And he claimed that he had been given distinctive tattoos matching those on the arms of Rossi while he was lying unconscious in a Glasgow hospital in an attempt to frame him.

Rossi was arrested by Police Scotland in November of last year after staff at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital recognised his tattoos – images of which had been circulated by Interpol – while he was being treated for Covid.

He will now face an extradition hearing, when the Scottish courts will decide whether to send him back to the US to stand trial on the allegations against him.

During the three-day identification hearing this week, fingerprint expert Lisa Davidson said prints taken from the man claiming to be Arthur Knight were identical to those of Rossi, which were included on a US extradition request and the Interpol red notice.

nicholas rossi tattoo
Medical staff at a Glasgow hospital recognised Rossi by the distinctive tattoos on his arms

 

But Rossi claimed the fingerprints had been meddled with, and taken from him by an NHS worker called “Patrick” on behalf of David Leavitt, a Utah county lawyer.

Advocate depute Paul Harvey dismissed his claims as “fanciful”, “entirely outlandish” and “bizarre”.

Rossi’s accent also changed several times while he was giving evidence.

The court was told on Wednesday that US prosecutors submitted additional extradition requests over an allegation of rape in Salt Lake City and another over an allegation of sexual assault against Rossi.

Rossi, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, was already fighting an extradition request by authorities in Utah who allege he raped a 21-year-old woman in the state in 2008.

He had previously been convicted of sexually assaulting another woman, known as Mary, after meeting her online in 2008.

She told BBC Scotland that Rossi pinned her against a wall, forcefully kissed and groped her and masturbated in front of her at a college in Ohio.

Mary said she hoped Rossi would now face justice on the other allegations against him, adding: “He is trying to fool everybody and I’m glad so many people see through it”.

Who is Nicholas Rossi?

Rossi
Nicholas Rossi is wanted by authorities in Utah

 

Authorities in the US have said that Rossi was also known as Nicholas Alahverdian in the state of Rhode Island, where he was involved in local politics and was a critic of the state’s child welfare system.

Rossi told US media in December 2019 that he had late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had weeks to live. Several outlets reported that he had died in February 2020.

Court records showed that Utah officials were looking for him at the time in connection with an alleged rape.

When he was arrested in Glasgow he was also on the run from authorities in other US states.

He used several aliases, including Nicholas Edward Rossi, Nicholas Alahverdian-Rossi, Nick Alan, Nicholas Brown, Arthur Brown and Arthur Knight.

The FBI also had a warrant for his arrest on charges of defrauding his foster father by taking out credit cards in his name and running up debts of more than $200,000.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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