A Scottish judge ruled Friday a mystery inmate is a suspected US rapist who faked his death and lied about his identity for a year — claiming his distinctive tattoos were secretly added to frame him.
Nicholas Rossi, who also used the surname Alahverdian, was arrested in October 2021 when he checked into a Glasgow hospital with COVID-19, where staff noted his numerous inkings matched those on an Interpol red notice.
Rossi, however, insisted he was an orphan from Ireland named Arthur Knight — and that he’d never been to the US, let alone committed the rapes and sexual assaults he’s accused of in Ohio and Utah.
In a series of wild legal arguments, he claimed his distinctive tattoos had been added while he was in a coma — and that his fingerprints were manipulated — all in a bid to frame him.
Arriving for court slumped in a wheelchair, Rossi’s accent changed several times as he gave evidence, claiming he’d been tortured while in custody, according to the BBC.
He even produced as a witness his wife, Miranda Knight, 41, who swore she had no idea he was Rossi. He’d used another name, Nicholas Brown, on their wedding certificate, the broadcaster reported.
On Friday, the Edinburgh judge leading the case, Sheriff Norman McFadyen, finally dismissed Rossi’s eccentric attempts to evade extradition as “implausible” and “fanciful.”
“I am ultimately satisfied on the balance of probabilities, by the evidence of fingerprint, photographic and tattoo evidence … that Mr. Knight is indeed Nicholas Rossi, the person sought for extradition in the United States,” he said.
The ruling frees US authorities to try to extradite him, with a hearing set for March.
The Rhode Island native is wanted by Utah authorities for allegedly raping his 21-year-old ex-girlfriend in her apartment in 2008.
DNA later came back as a match to a sexual assault case in Ohio, where he also faces charges of fraud for taking out credit cards in his foster father’s name and amassing more than $200,000 in debts.
In Rhode Island — where he was known as Nicholas Alahverdian — he is also wanted for failing to register as a sex offender.
Rossi is accused of faking his own death in February 2020, soon after telling local media that he was battling late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma. An obituary claimed he died on Feb. 29, 2020 — with a wife and two kids beside him — but police continued searching for him after seeing no proof he’d passed.
An Ohio woman also told the BBC Rossi was previously convicted of sexually assaulting her in 2008.
“He is trying to fool everybody and I’m glad so many people see through it,” said the victim, who only gave a first name, Mary.
With Post wires