An American rape suspect, accused of faking his own death to avoid charges, has refused to appear at his latest court hearing.
Nicholas Rossi was flown out of Edinburgh earlier this month following a two-year legal battle in which he claimed he was a victim of mistaken identity.
At his first appearance in court in the US following his extradition from Scotland on January 17, Rossi maintained he is Irish orphan Arthur Knight.
On Monday, Judge Derek Pullan, of Utah’s Fourth District Court, was told Rossi would not appear by video link from prison.
A new date of February 6 has been set for his appearance.
Judge Pullan said that if Rossi was not ill on that date then he would “authorise reasonable force to compel his attendance”.
The 36-year-old previously appeared by video link at the Third District Court in Utah.
Rossi came to the attention of authorities when he was identified at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow in December 2021 where he was being treated for Covid-19, while using the name Arthur Knight.
He was arrested after being recognised by his distinctive tattoos.
Months of court proceedings in Edinburgh followed but in November 2022, sheriff Norman McFadyen determined the man claiming to be Arthur Knight was indeed Rossi – who US authorities wanted to extradite.
An extradition hearing took place in June 2023, with sheriff McFadyen ruling there was no barrier to Rossi’s extradition.
Prosecutors in Utah said he was charged with raping a 21-year-old woman in 2008.
Rossi was not identified as a suspect until about a decade later due to a backlog of DNA test kits at the state’s crime lab.
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