Alleged US fugitive claims he’s ‘coughing up blood’ in prison

·2 min read

A man who insists he is not a wanted fugitive has complained about his care in prison and said he keeps being called the wrong name.

The 35-year-old, who claims to be called Arthur Knight, but whom US prosecutors have said is actually rape-suspect Nicholas Rossi, appeared via video link at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday in the latest stage of his extradition battle.

Appearing on screen from HMP Edinburgh, where he was in a wheelchair and wearing an oxygen mask, the man repeatedly complained about not being able to hear proceedings.

Ross Jenkins, representing the 35-year-old, told Sheriff Kenneth Maciver he had been asked by his client to pass on concerns about “his physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing”.

Nicholas Rossi court case
Miranda Knight, the wife of the defendant, arriving at Edinburgh Sheriff Court (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“He asked me to state that he feels like he has been denied medical treatment within the prison,” he told the court.

“He feels he needs urgent medical attention and that the prison are denying him from this,” and added that his client, whom he referred to as “Mr Knight”, said he had been “coughing up blood”.

Mr Jenkins told the court his client was “constantly referred to as another person” whom the 35-year-old insists he is not.

The man is said to have faked his own death and fled to Scotland to evade a rape charge.

Prosecutors in Utah have accused him of raping a 21-year-old in 2008, and he is also alleged to have attacked women elsewhere in the United States.

However, the man claims he is a victim of mistaken identity, and says that he has never been to America.

During the 22-minute hearing, the man’s wife sat at the back of the court to listen to how proceedings against him would continue.

The court was told further work needed to be done on the case before it could progress further.

The man will next appear in court on September 1, and Sheriff Maciver remanded him in custody.

Earlier this month, the court was told the man, who had represented himself, had instructed a solicitor to take the case on.

A Scottish Prison Service spokesperson said: “The health and wellbeing of those who live in our establishments is of paramount importance.

“However, we do not comment on individual prisoners.”

For guidance, since 2011, health care services within SPS establishments have been delivered by NHS Scotland.