US fugitive Nicholas Rossi extradited from Scotlandon January 5, 2024 at 5:26 pm

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The man who claimed to be Irish orphan Arthur Knight is returned to his homeland to face rape charges.

Nicholas Rossi has been returned to the US to face rape charges after being officially extradited from ScotlandImage source, PA Media

An American suspected of faking his own death and hiding out in Scotland has been extradited back to the US.

A court ruled the man claiming to be an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight was actually registered sex offender Nicholas Rossi.

The 36-year-old was caught while being treated for Covid-19 when he was arrested at a hospital in Glasgow in December 2021.

He is wanted in Utah in connection with rape claims.

Rossi lost his final appeal against being returned from Scotland to his homeland on 14 December.

Scotland’s Justice Secretary Angela Constance signed an order approving the decision in September.

It is understood Rossi – also known in the US as Nicholas Alahverdian – left on a private flight from Edinburgh Airport on Friday.

He was found guilty of sexual imposition and public indecency while a student at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio, in 2008.

He is alleged to have attacked a former girlfriend, pushing her on to a couch and forcing her to have sex while ignoring her pleas to stop.

Rossi had insisted he was a victim of mistaken identity, maintaining he was Knight after officers detained him at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that his tattoos and fingerprints matched those of Rossi, with Sheriff Norman McFadyen ruling that he was indeed the fugitive in November of last year.

However, he claimed he had been given the tattoos as part of an attempt to frame him while he was lying unconscious in hospital.

Sheriff McFadyen dismissed that as “fanciful,” adding his repeated name changes were “consistent with someone with something to hide”.

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First Minister Humza Yousaf said he did not want to “prejudice any potential inquiry or court case” in the future but praised the Scottish authorities’ co-operation with colleagues in the US during the saga.

He said: “I commend our court system that looked at this issue thoroughly and came to the conclusion he should be extradited.

“I’ll let justice take its course in the United States.”

Former Utah county attorney, David O Leavitt, welcomed the news that the extradition process had been completed.

“Today marks a pivotal moment in the pursuit of justice, as the responsibility shifts to Utah County,” he said.

He added: “This would not have happened without the amazing co-operation from law enforcement across the world.

“I’m very grateful for the co-operation we’ve received from the Scottish authorities. This wouldn’t have happened without them.”

Officers in Essex have been investigating Rossi in connection with a non-recent allegation of rape which was reported to them in April 2022.

He was re-bailed after his arrest and remains on bail in connection with that investigation.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We assisted partner agencies with the extradition of a 36-year-old man.”

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