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Rape suspect who faked his death and posed as a UK citizen arrives in Utah for trial

Nicholas Rossi has returned to the US after a lengthy court battle  (Getty Images)
Nicholas Rossi has returned to the US after a lengthy court battle (Getty Images)

An American fugitive who allegedly faked his death and posed as an Irish man to try to swerve a rape allegation has been extradited to Utah.

Nicholas Rossi, 36, was removed from the United Kingdom on Friday after leaving on a private flight from Edinburgh Airport after losing his final appeal against extradition in December, BBC Scotland reported.

When asked about Nicholas Rossi, a spokesperson for Police Scotland would only confirm to outlets that “we assisted partner agencies with the extradition of a 36-year-old man”.

Mr Rossi is wanted in Utah in connection to the rape of a woman that allegedly happened in 2008, the Utah County Attorney’s Office previously said.

The discovery came after the Utah Department of Public Safety reviewed old sexual assault testing kits and found that the 2008 Utah case matched the same identity as a sexual assault case in Ohio, where the suspect was Nicholas Rossi, the attorney’s office said in a press release last year.

“We’re looking forward to having him back and moving this case forward,” Tim Taylor, the Utah County Attorney’s Office chief of staff, told NBC News.

He also is facing complaints against him for alleged domestic violence in Rhode Island.

Mr Rossi lost his final appeal in December (Getty Images)
Mr Rossi lost his final appeal in December (Getty Images)

Mr Rossi turned up at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, suffering from Covid in December 2021 when he was arrested after being recognised.

He claimed to authorities for months that he was a man called Arthur Knight, an orphan from Ireland who had never set foot in America, yet a Scottish judge ultimately ruled he was, in fact, Nicholas Rossi.

The suspect asserted he was a victim of mistaken identity, saying that authorities had taken his fingerprints while he was in a coma to connect him to “Nicholas Rossi”, the Associated Press reported

The fugitive also claimed that the tattoos he had, which matched those of Rossi, were also given to him while unconscious in hospital.

Prosecutors believed that Mr Rossi had used at least 10 aliases to evade being arrested and even brought up medical records from doctors who cared for him, claiming that he faked seizures and did not have any existing lung problems.

Mr Rossi would turn up to court with an oxygen mask and speak in a British accent.

An obituary posted on EverLoved.com claimed that on 29 February 2020, Nicholas Alahverdian, a name that was used by Mr Rossi, had passed away months after he said he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Before his apparent death, he told media in Rhode Island of his diagnosis and claimed he had weeks to live.

News outlets at the time picked this up and reported on his death, but his former lawyer and former foster family started to question if the news of his death was accurate.

Mr Rossi is also being investigated after he was arrested in October under suspicion of another allegation of rape in Chelmsford, Essex, in 2017.

People convicted of rape in Utah are typically sentenced to five years to life, according to the Utah criminal code.