Alleged US fugitive has tattoos photographed in bid to establish identity

The man at the centre of the case claims never to have been to the US, where prosecutors argue he is wanted for rape.

Alleged US fugitive has tattoos photographed in bid to establish identity

An alleged fugitive facing extradition to the US has had photos of his tattoos taken in prison as part of a bid to establish his identity.

US prosecutors believe the man is Nicholas Rossi, who is said to have faked his own death to escape charges there.

However, the 35-year-old man claims to be called Arthur Knight, a victim of mistaken identity who has never been to America.

At a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday, the man’s lawyer David Kinloch said work is under way to prove the identity of his client, who is being held at HMP Edinburgh, known as Saughton.

He told the court: “The Crown have provided various photographs of a person they believe is Nicholas Rossi, including tattoos being exhibited. It was suggested that my client should be examined and photographed.

“That has been done on an evening visit to Saughton. I personally attended last Thursday, a week ago today, and counsel is in possession of those photos.”

It came after Sheriff Kenneth Maciver said at a previous hearing last month that it should not be “rocket science” to prove the man’s identity.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court
A further hearing in the case took place at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday (Jane Barlow/PA)

The 35-year-old, who appeared by video-link from HMP Edinburgh on Thursday in a wheelchair and wearing an oxygen mask, denies he is the alleged fugitive.

When asked whether he is Rossi, he replied: “No, I am Arthur Knight.”

He also asked Sheriff Kenneth Campbell KC, who was overseeing this week’s hearing, to consider his appeal for bail, but was told this was a matter for the appeal court.

Mr Kinloch asked for the proceedings to be continued for another week as his client’s senior legal counsel were not available for the hearing due to other court commitments.

A report about the 35-year-old by a forensic psychologist is also not yet ready, although it is hoped this will have progressed in time for a hearing next week.

Advocate Depute Paul Harvey said a hearing could also take place over several days in November to establish the question of identity.

He said: “Any sheriff considering the case will have to consider identity. Dates have been identified on November 7 and four days thereafter should a sheriff need to hear evidence in the question of identity.

“It’s my submission that efforts should be made to preserve those dates.”

Sheriff Campbell agreed to set a further hearing for October 13.

On the matter of bail, he said: “It is not competent for me to review the bail order. That is a matter for the appeal court and it’s clear that you have that in hand Mr Kinloch.”

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