'I'd recognise those chubby fingers anywhere', sexual assault victim says of alleged fugitive

·5-min read

A woman has told Sky News that a man wanted for extradition to the US has the "greedy little claws" of the attacker who sexually assaulted her.

Mary, whose full name we are withholding, says she recognises the "chubby fingers" of Nicholas Rossi on the man who was arrested in Glasgow.

He insists he is a victim of mistaken identity and that his real name is Arthur Knight.

However, his fingerprints match those of Rossi and the US authorities want him extradited to stand trial on rape charges in the state of Utah.

Authorities in Utah say Rossi fled the US to avoid prosecution and adopted the name Arthur Knight after faking his own death.

Rossi was convicted of sexually assaulting Mary at a college in Ohio in 2008. It was a DNA sample from that attack that linked him to the Utah case.

Speaking of the assault against her, Mary told Sky News: "He leads me into a stairwell and, at that point, he starts attacking me.

"He's forcibly trying to kiss me, and I'm not reciprocating. He was holding me up against the wall, he was putting his hands up my shirt and down my pants, and I tell him 'I want to leave'."

The man wanted for extradition was arrested in a Glasgow hospital after being admitted, suffering from COVID.

He uses a wheelchair and takes in oxygen through a face mask.

On viewing Sky News coverage of the ongoing extradition effort in Scotland, Mary said: "That's definitely him. The whole mask thing, I think it's just his way of covering up his face, trying to get sympathy for being sick. I think it's a very good way to try to distort his speech.

"He's got that dark hair and those chubby fingers, I would remember those chubby fingers anywhere, they were up my shirt, they were down my pants. I would recognise those anywhere, his greedy little claws."

Read more:
Is this man a fugitive rape suspect who faked own death - or victim of mistaken identity?

Following the attack on Mary, Rossi was convicted of sexual imposition and public indecency; he also had to register as a sex offender.

She says the conviction in court wasn't the end of her torment at his hands.

He sued her twice for damage to his reputation, although he was unsuccessful on both occasions.

"That was hard," Mary said. "I was a struggling college kid and didn't have that kind of money for a lawyer.

"It's kind of sick and twisted that you attack someone sexually, and then you go and sue them. I thought it was dark.

"He sued my husband, he made a fake sex offender blog with my face and a picture of my newborn daughter on it. He put my address online, telling people I was lying in court and encouraging them to harass me.

"He's brilliant, and he's smart but, at the same time, he's wicked and malicious."

The extradition case has brought back dark memories, too, for Michelle Minnaar.

The food blogger, based in Essex, met Nicholas Rossi on a dating website and, within days, he said he wanted to move to the UK.

Ms Minnaar told Sky News he arrived at her house in 2017.

"He was incredibly persistent, charming, and persuasive in saying he didn't want to stay in a hotel, and he wanted to visit me in my house," she said.

"He walked in with massive suitcases, then immediately insisted on sex.

"He just caused mayhem every day, causing conflict between the children and I, and having a go at my son.

"I couldn't actually get rid of him, it was weird, and I felt like I was being held hostage in my own house."

Rossi stayed in Michelle's home for a month and, during that time, she discovered that he was a sex offender when she conducted a Google search and found his police mugshot.

She said: "I found a mugshot of him on a sex offender report and I confronted him. He was very surprised that I found it because he said 'well, how did you find this? I need to take care of this'.

"I think he was trying to get himself removed from Google search listings."

Ms Minnaar finally got rid of Rossi when she changed the locks on her doors.

"There was a point for my job I was invited to travel to Paris," she said. "And the thought of him being alone in my house, I couldn't deal with the idea because I've got expensive gear, being a photographer - what is he going to do, sell it?

"That's when I got the police involved and had to change my locks and pack his suitcases and dump his stuff at the station and tell him it's over, while he was out of the house."

Earlier this year, Ms Minnaar made a complaint of rape to Essex Police.

In a statement, the force said: "On April 28, 2022, we received an historic report of rape in Chelmsford. Our enquiries are ongoing."

Read more:
Alleged fugitive 'tried to organise fake memorial by posing as grieving widow'
Man accused of rape and faking own death 'aggressive towards hospital staff'

The man wanted by US authorities denies being Rossi. He insists he is Arthur Knight and has never been to the US.

He married Miranda Knight in February 2020. They were living as a couple in Glasgow when he caught COVID and was arrested last December at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Earlier this month, he was convicted of abusing staff at the same hospital during a subsequent visit.