UK

Who is Nicholas Rossi and what is he accused of?

Nicholas Rossi has claimed throughout proceedings to be the victim of mistaken identity (PA)
Nicholas Rossi has claimed throughout proceedings to be the victim of mistaken identity (PA) Nicholas Rossi has claimed throughout proceedings to be the victim of mistaken identity (PA)

The legal battle to extradite Nicholas Rossi from Scotland to the US to face charges for an alleged rape in Utah has dominated headlines.

On Wednesday, Sheriff Norman McFadyen ruled there are no barriers to Rossi being extradited.

Rossi was arrested at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow in December 2021, but he has consistently insisted that the authorities have the wrong man and he is in fact Irish orphan Arthur Knight.

Officials had to first prove he is the man wanted by US authorities, and after a five-day hearing in November 2022, Sheriff McFadyen said: “I am ultimately satisfied on the balance of probabilities… that Mr Knight is indeed Nicholas Rossi, the person sought for extradition by the United States.”

Read more: ‘Dishonest and deceitful' rape suspect Nicholas Rossi can be extradited to US

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at the key questions surrounding the case:

Nicholas Rossi court case
Nicholas Rossi court case Nicholas Rossi and his wife Miranda give a press conference in 2022 (Jane Barlow/PA)

– Who is Nicholas Rossi?

Nicholas Rossi was born as Nicholas Alahverdian in Providence, Rhode Island, in July 1987 to mother Diana Alahverdian and father Jack Alahverdian, according to reports in US newspaper The Providence Journal.

He was adopted by his stepfather David Rossi, and changed his surname to Rossi.

Rossi had a turbulent childhood and left his family home as a teenager, spending much of his adolescence in Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) care facilities.

He spoke out against the conditions in care, claiming to have suffered abuse and neglect and he made a name for himself by campaigning to improve facilities for children living in the state’s care.

In 2008, Rossi was convicted of sexually assaulting a student while attending a community college in Ohio. He was placed on the sex offenders register as a result.

Rossi claimed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in late 2019 and around this time, friends in the media and politics say they began receiving calls from him to say he was dying.

An obituary appeared online for Rossi in early 2020 saying he had died and that his ashes had been scattered at sea.

Nicholas Rossi
Nicholas Rossi Nicholas Rossi attended court in a wheelchair, but his reasons for needing one were questioned by medical experts (PA)

– What is Rossi accused of?

Rossi is wanted in the US for allegedly raping a woman in Utah in 2008.

Authorities say he faked his own death in order to evade charges in the US.

– What happened next?

It is unclear when Rossi left the US for the UK, as he continues to insist he Irish orphan Arthur Knight.

Under the guise of Arthur Brown, Rossi is believed to have met his wife, Miranda Knight, in Bristol in 2019 and married her in early 2020, assuming the name Arthur Knight.

They moved to Glasgow shortly afterwards but in 2021, Rossi became so ill with Covid-19 that he had to be hospitalised at the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Health investigation at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital
Health investigation at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Rossi turned up at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in December 2021 (Jane Barlow/PA)

– How was Rossi caught?

In July 2020, DNA allegedly linked him to a 2008 rape in Utah which is ultimately what led to his discovery in Scotland.

He was arrested on December 13, 2021 at the Glasgow hospital by police officers who served him with an Interpol red notice.

With the assistance of medical staff at the hospital, the patient initially named as Arthur Knight was identified as Rossi.

– What is Rossi’s version of events?

There has never been an official version of events from Rossi because he continues to insist he is Arthur Knight and that the authorities have the wrong man.

In court appearances, he has maintained his pained English accent, with an Irish lilt whenever he mentions the word Dublin, where he claims to have been born.

Nicholas Rossi extradition hearing
Nicholas Rossi extradition hearing Nicholas Rossi’s wife Miranda Knight was in court for most of the proceedings (Andrew Milligan/PA)

In his latest interview with The Times, as Arthur Knight, he said he wanted the “real” Rossi to come forward to “save my wife and me from this mess”.

– What is the extradition process?

Sheriff McFadyen ruled on Wednesday there is no impediment to Rossi’s extradition back to the US, but the final decision lies with the Scottish ministers.