A man facing extradition to the US in connection with a historic rape case claims he was tattooed while in a coma.
The 35-year-old, who identified himself as Arthur Knight, has been testifying at Edinburgh Sheriff’s Court.
A court is trying to determine if he is really Nicholas Rossi, a man who allegedly raped a woman in Utah in 2008 and then pretended to die.
An Interpol red notice for Rossi shows a number of unique tattoos on his arms, one of which is a red cross above an angel’s wings.
Police Scotland arrested him at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in October last year after he was hospitalised with breathing difficulties.
Medical personnel identified him based on a red notice.
“I’m in a coma”
At Tuesday’s hearing, the man, who identified himself as Arthur Knight, said he was in a coma for 18 days before his arrest in Scotland, during which time he was tattooed.
He told the court: “During the 18 days I was in a coma, my body had no free will. I never had a tattoo until I was hospitalized.”
Defence lawyer Paul Harvey asked the man to clarify whether the tattoo was on his body while he was in a coma, to which he replied: “Yes” and that he “raised the issue with hospital administration”.
Early evidence was heard from head nurse Ruth Keating, 58, who cared for a man she knew, Arthur Knight, while in hospital.
She told the court he had “unique” tattoos on his arms.
Speaking of a special photo on Interpol’s Rossi Red Notice showing the red cross tattoo above the angel’s wings, Ms Keating said: “It looks like I’m on Arthur Knight. Saw the tattoo.”
Is this person a fugitive rape suspect or a misidentified victim?
The two officers who arrested the man, PC Shannon McGill and PC Jamie Crombie, also said they recognised Rossi’s tattoo on the man’s arm as evidence.
Mr Harvey handed witness accounts to the man and asked them if they were correct about the tattoos on his body, he said yes, but they were slightly different than Rossi’s tattoos in the Interpol notice.
Referring to the images of the tattoos shown in court, the man said: “They were put there to make me look like Nicolas Rossi.
“All I can say is that when I woke up from the coma, I had tattoos on my body and they weren’t the same as what appeared on the screen.”
Mr Harvey went on to ask: “The QEUH ICU staff, doctors, nurses didn’t do anything to stop someone from putting these tattoos on you while you were in a coma?”
The man said that in his “moments of sobriety” he recalled “there were a lot of people in the ward” and started talking about the apparent water contamination in the building before the sheriff asked him not to digress.
When he was asked why his accent shifted from hipster English to other accents throughout the hearing, he blamed the lack of oxygen.
The man went on to claim that his accusers had tampered with the fingerprints used on his arrest warrant and that the picture on the red notice had been “swapped”.
The man’s wife, Miranda Knight, 41, was also called to testify.
She told the court that the man changed his name because he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a child.
Mungo Bovey KC, defending, asked her if there was any indication her husband was Rosie, to which she replied, “No.”
Sheriff Norman McFadyen adjourned the hearing until Wednesday morning.