Man fighting extradition to US after being arrested on Covid ward confirmed as rape suspect Nicholas Rossi

The 35-year-old has spent the last 11 months trying to con the Scottish courts into believing he is an orphan from Ireland who has never been to the US

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A man who has been fighting extradition to the US has been confirmed as rape suspect Nicholas Rossi, a sheriff has said.

The 35-year-old has spent the last 11 months trying to con the Scottish courts into believing he is Arthur Knight, an orphan from Ireland, who has never been to the US.

But on Friday, Edinburgh Sheriff Court found him to be Rossi, a man the US authorities have been seeking in relation to two rape allegations and one of sexual assault.

Nicholas Rossi
Nicholas Rossi

Rossi was first arrested in October last year after checking himself in to a hospital in Glasgow with Covid-19.

It is alleged he faked his own death in the US and fled to Scotland to evade prosecution.

Medical staff and police were able to identify him by comparing his tattoos with pictures of Rossi on an Interpol red notice.

A stream of preliminary hearings then took place, which saw Rossi sack at least six lawyers and claim to have been tortured in prison.

The hearings culminated in an extraordinary identification case where he insisted his fingerprints had been meddled with and that he had been tattooed while unconscious in hospital in order to resemble Rossi.

Speaking at the long-awaited hearing to establish Rossi’s identity, sheriff Norman McFadyen said: “I am ultimately satisfied on the balance of probabilities, by the evidence of fingerprint, photographic and tattoo evidence, taken together, supported by the evidence of changes of name, that Mr Knight is indeed Nicholas Rossi, the person sought for extradition by the United States.”

The sheriff said he would have been prepared to accept the fingerprint evidence alone or the headshots and photos of Rossi’s tattoos on US paperwork taken together as “sufficient” for identifying the wanted man.

Sheriff Norman McFadyen dismissed Nicholas Rossi’s claim that his fingerprints were taken from him by an NHS worker called Patrick on behalf of prosecutors in the US while he was in intensive care.

He said: “I have no valid or coherent reason to doubt that the prints examined were those provided by the US authorities and that these are, as they assert, prints of Nicholas Rossi who is charged in their proceedings, and I reject Mr Knight’s explanation as to how his prints came to be taken while he was in hospital… as implausible and fanciful.”