A Scottish court has ruled a suspected rapist who apparently faked his own death can be sent back to the United States to face serious sex charges.
Nicholas Rossi, who claims he is an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight, has been at the centre of a long-running extradition battle in Edinburgh.
American law enforcement officials claim he is a fugitive who fled to the UK to evade justice.
An international game of hide and seek ended when Rossi, 35, was tracked down via an Interpol red notice while unconscious in a COVID hospital ward in Glasgow in 2021.
He was arrested after his tattoos and fingerprints matched National Crime Agency documents.
Last November, a Scottish court ruled he was the suspect American authorities have been attempting to track down.
Rossi has deliberately delayed extradition proceedings by claiming it is a case of mistaken identity. His legal fees, running into the tens of thousands, are being paid for by the taxpayer.
Rossi’s series of lurid suggestions that tattoos were planted on his body while in a coma for coronavirus were previously branded “scandalous” by a Scottish sheriff.
He also claimed UK and US officials were colluding to stitch him up.
In what has become an international spectacle, Edinburgh Sheriff Court has played host to a string of hearings spanning more than 18 months.
Rossi was transported to and from jail in an accessible prison vehicle due to, what he describes as, the inability to stand or walk amid health complications.
The court heard from HMP Edinburgh’s GP who ruled she could find “no medical need” for Rossi to have a wheelchair. She, in fact, found his legs to be “athletic”.
During extradition proceedings, Rossi spoke in a hoarse, weak, slow-paced English accent.
A Dublin accent could be heard when he referred to his apparent childhood in Ireland.
A medical expert said during her private consultations with Rossi, his speech sped up and improved the longer he spoke.
Rossi’s arrest in Scotland
Suspect calls convicted child sex offender as witness
Rossi attempts to dismiss his lawyer
Image: Rossi in July last year A raft of witnesses branded the suspected rapist manipulative, narcissistic and aggressive.
A psychiatrist said Rossi was “keen to attract a psychiatric diagnosis” and demanded to be sectioned despite her believing he had no mental illness.
The prosecutor put to Rossi that no one can trust a word he says.
In June, after hearing months of evidence, Sheriff Norman McFadyen ruled there was no barrier to Rossi’s extradition to the US.
It is now expected Scotland’s justice secretary will rubber-stamp the move.
The alleged fugitive could then appeal the court’s decision in a process that could take years, according to an extradition expert.