US authorities believe a man who claims to be an Irish orphan living in the UK is convicted sex offender who faked his own death to escape justice in the US.
35-year-old Nicholas Rossi is wanted in the US in relation to a serious sexual offence in Utah and allegations of domestic violence in Rhode Island.
In 2020 his death was announced in the US, with an in-memoriam notice claiming he had died from Non-Hodkinson’s Lymphoma and had been cremated, with his ashes buried at sea.
During the pandemic, however, a man matching his description was admitted to a Glasgow hospital in a COVID-related coma.
He was arrested at the hospital after authorities matched his distinctive tattoos and fingerprints to those on National Crime Agency and Interpol documents.
Last week a Scottish court ruled that the man, who claims to be Irish orphan Arthur Knight, is in fact US fugitive Nicholas Rossi.
The court ruled that he can be extradited to the US to face the charges and he is expecting to be handed over within the week.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, London-based journalist Enda Brady said Rossi sometimes speaks with an Irish accent in court.
“This is a guy who, the allegation is, effectively faked his own death, ended up in Scotland somehow and then, during the court process, has claimed to be an Irish orphan,” he said.
“People who have been listening to him in court when he does speak say that the accent fluctuates from being English at one point to, when he speaks about his so-called childhood in Dublin, having a Dublin accent.
“He’s about as Irish as a kangaroo if you ask me from the evidence we have seen so far.”
Mr Brady said the man claims he does not have his Irish birth cert because it was lost when he was adopted as a child and relocated to England.
He said Rossi has claimed that the tattoos were put on his body by Scottish health workers while he was unconscious in the COVID ward – an allegation the judge described as “ludicrous”.
The extradition process has been ongoing for over 18 months with the British taxpayer funding his legal fees, which run into the tens of thousands.
Rossi has been transported to and from jail in a wheelchair and an accessible prison vehicle, claiming he is unable to walk due to health complications.
The prison doctor told the court she could find no medical need for Rossi to be in a wheelchair, describing his legs as “athletic”.
The 35-year-old has had several outbursts in court, including one in which he called the judge a “disgrace to justice”.
He has also accused US and British officials of colluding to stitch him up and UK authorities of dragging him before the court using physical force.
It is now expected Scotland's justice secretary will rubber-stamp the extradition, with Rossi to be handed over to US authorities in a matter of days.