Rape accused to have fingerprints taken to prove identity in extradition case

·2-min read
The defendant leaving Edinburgh Sheriff And Justice Of The Peace Court, for a hearing on the extradition of Nicholas Rossi to the US, where he is wanted after allegedly fleeing the country in 2017 to evade charges involving identity theft and fraud, and a 2008 sexual assault charge in Utah. The man, who goes by at least ten other aliases, including Nicholas Alahverdian and Arthur Knight, denies he is Rossi. Picture date: Tuesday July 12, 2022. (PA Wire)
The defendant leaving Edinburgh Sheriff And Justice Of The Peace Court, for a hearing on the extradition of Nicholas Rossi to the US, where he is wanted after allegedly fleeing the country in 2017 to evade charges involving identity theft and fraud, and a 2008 sexual assault charge in Utah. The man, who goes by at least ten other aliases, including Nicholas Alahverdian and Arthur Knight, denies he is Rossi. Picture date: Tuesday July 12, 2022. (PA Wire)

A man claiming mistaken identity who is fighting extradition to the United States on a rape charge is to have his fingerprints taken in a bid to prove who he is.

US prosecutors have said that the 35-year-old, who claims to be called Arthur Knight, is actually called Nicholas Rossi and is wanted in Utah.

The man appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday via video link, where Sheriff Norman McFadyen said his prints would be taken by Police Scotland “in the interests of justice” and as a “belt and braces” measure.

The suspect, who is said to have faked his own death and fled to Scotland, has been linked to a number of attacks on other women across the United States.

The man, who US prosecutors believe is Nicholas Rossi, outside court at a previous appearance (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)
The man, who US prosecutors believe is Nicholas Rossi, outside court at a previous appearance (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)

Throughout the 74-minute hearing, the suspect, who denied that he was Nicholas Rossi when asked at the start of proceedings, repeatedly asked for oxygen.

Representing himself, the man said: “I can’t think properly or address my argument because I don’t have any oxygen and I have not for nearly 36 hours and I’m hypoxic.”

But Sheriff McFadyen said: “I have been told your saturation levels have been tested and they are normal.”

The suspect then told the court that they were using “a Poundland” oximeter, a medical device which measures the amount of oxygen in blood.

Miranda Knight, the wife of the defendant, arriving at court on Thursday (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)
Miranda Knight, the wife of the defendant, arriving at court on Thursday (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)

The suspect, who was in a wheelchair, was last week charged with threatening two hospital medics at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Procurator Fiscal Julie Clark told the court that he has had his fingerprints taken in relation to that case, but it was the opinion of the Lord Advocate that they should not be used for the extradition matter, so another sample must be provided.

The man said he would agree to providing his prints, but said he did not want Police Scotland to be the ones doing so.

Sheriff McFadyen said the warrant was granted “for fingerprints to be taken by officers from Police Scotland at Her Majesty’s Prison Edinburgh. I will make arrangements for officers to attend for that purpose.”

He also said the next hearing of the extradition case would be adjourned until August 11, after the hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court into the allegations he threatened two medics.

The man was remanded in custody.

Separately, US authorities charged fugitive Rossi with another count of rape.

The Salt Lake County district attorney’s office said a no-bail warrant had been issued for the arrest of Rossi, and gave several aliases including Arthur Knight.

District attorney Sim Gill said: “We are working with the Utah County attorney’s office and the US attorney on the extradition of Nicholas Rossi from Scotland.

“The presumption of innocence applies, Nicholas Rossi remains innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

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