Rape suspect continues to deny identity at fresh extradition hearing

An alleged rapist wanted by prosecutors in the US has denied he is the man they are looking for – despite a court ruling just last week that he is.

Nicholas Rossi appeared at an extradition hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday after being served fresh allegations by authorities.

But defence lawyer Andrew Docherty called him “Mr Knight” and told Sheriff Norman McFadyen his client does not accept he is the subject of the warrant and will not consent to being extradited.

The 35-year-old has spent the last 11 months insisting in the Scottish courts that he is in fact Arthur Knight, an orphan from Ireland who has never been across the Atlantic.

On November 9 it was revealed that US prosecutors had submitted further extradition requests for Rossi, one which relates to another allegation of rape in Salt Lake City and another to an allegation of sexual assault.

He was arrested on those allegations on Thursday at HMP Edinburgh, advocate depute Paul Harvey told the 11-minute hearing.

Nicholas Rossi extradition hearing
Last week, the sheriff ruled the man is Nicholas Rossi (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Appearing by video-link from the prison, Rossi told Sheriff McFadyen he does not believe the requests had been brought in a “practicable amount of time”.

Rossi is already fighting an extradition request by authorities in Utah, who have accused him of raping a 21-year-old woman in the state.

He was first arrested in October last year after checking himself into the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow with Covid-19.

While in Scotland, under the alias Knight and posing as a tutor, Rossi developed Covid pneumonitis and became “the sickest patient on the ward”, according to medical staff who were caring for him at the time.

It was at this point Police Scotland officers were issued with an Interpol red notice, with pictures of the wanted man, including images of his tattoos, and fingerprints.

Rossi has previously claimed in court that his fingerprints had been taken by an NHS worker called Patrick on behalf of US prosecutors in a bid to frame him, as well as being tattooed while in a coma in hospital to make him resemble the wanted man.

Sheriff McFadyen adjourned the hearing until January.