Identity of man fighting extradition to US to be confirmed

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The identity of a man facing extradition who US officials believe is wanted rape suspect Nicholas Rossi is due to be confirmed today.

For the last 11 months, the 35-year-old man has told the Scottish courts that he is Arthur Knight, an orphan from Ireland, who has never been to America.

But US authorities have said he is, in fact, Rossi, who is wanted over two allegations of rape and one of sexual assault. It is alleged Rossi faked his own death and fled to Scotland to escape prosecution.

After an extraordinary three-day identification hearing, during which the man claimed to have been tattooed while unconscious in hospital to resemble Rossi, Sheriff Norman McFadyen is set to make the long-awaited decision on Friday.

The man was arrested in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow last October.

Nicholas Rossi court case
A judge is to rule on the man’s identity (PA)

The two officers who arrested him, Pc Shannon McGill and Pc Jamie Crombie, said they identified the patient after comparing tattoos on his arms to images of Rossi’s tattoos, which they were given on an Interpol red notice.

Medical staff looking after the man while he was in hospital, including charge nurse Ruth Keating, also said Rossi’s tattoos looked like the ones on the patient whom she knew as Arthur Knight.

During evidence this week, Tenprint identification officer Lisa Davidson said fingerprints taken from the man by Scottish police and those of Rossi, printed on a US extradition request and an Interpol red notice, were “identical”.

But the man claimed the fingerprints were meddled with, and taken from him by an NHS worker called “Patrick” on behalf of David Leavitt, a Utah county lawyer.

He also said he was tattooed while “comatosed” in hospital, telling the court this is why he has similar tattoos to Rossi.

Advocate depute Paul Harvey dismissed the man’s claims as “fanciful”, “entirely outlandish” and “bizarre”.

The man was arrested in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow (Alamy/PA)

Mungo Bovey KC, defending, said the evidence heard so far about the tattoos is “vague and insubstantial”.

He described the analysis of the fingerprints given by the two forensic experts before the court as “not good”.

The case was adjourned until Friday, when Sheriff McFadyen will make a decision on the man’s identity.

Earlier, the court was told that US prosecutors submitted supplementary extradition requests in late October for the man.

One relates to an allegation of rape in Salt Lake City and another to an allegation of sexual assault elsewhere.

The man is already fighting an extradition request by authorities in Utah who allege he raped a 21-year-old in the state.

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