Woman claims she was raped by US sex offender Nicholas Rossi who fled to UK then faked his death

Woman claims she was raped by US sex offender who fled to UK then faked his death: ‘Victim’ spoke to Essex cops after recognising wheelchair-using ‘FBI fugitive’ fighting extradition

  • Michelle Minnaar, 41, has claimed she was raped by US fugitive Nicholas Rossi
  • Mother-of-two alleged he is a ‘serial liar’ due to his ‘intense victimhood facade’
  • Rossi – who claims his real name is Arthur Knight – is accused of faking his death from cancer in US to avoid sexual assault charges, before fleeing to Britain

A woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a ‘master manipulator’ US fugitive wanted by the FBI has alleged he told her ‘he was framed’ when she confronted him about being on the US sex register.

Michelle Minnaar, 41, claimed she had a five-month turbulent relationship with Nicholas Rossi, who is wanted on sexual assault charges in the US, after the pair met on US dating website, GoCupid. 

The mother-of-two alleged that 34-year-old Rossi moved into her home in Cheltenham, Essex, which she shared with her 15-year-old son and daughter, 12, after he arrived in the UK in June 2017.

The food blogger, from Pretoria, South Africa, has now waived her right to anonymity so she could ‘warn others of her story’ after she recognised the ‘FBI fugitive’ fighting extradition.  

Ms Minnaar claimed he is a ‘serial liar’ who ‘relies solely on people feeling sorry for him’ due to his ‘intense victimhood facade’.

Shortly after Rossi moved into Ms Minaar’s home, she found out he was on the sex offenders’ register following a previous conviction in Dayton, Ohio – but he told her he was ‘framed by a woman who had a boyfriend’. 

Ms Minnaar exclusively told MailOnline: ‘During our whirlwind relationship, I saw online that he was on a US sex offenders list. 

‘When I confronted him about it, he told me he’d previously met a girl and they had sex. She later told him she had a boyfriend. She then reported it to the police and framed him for sexual assault. 

‘He was a serial liar. Now I look back at the time we spent together there were so many red flags. He is a master manipulator. Now I look back, how he was allowed to travel to the UK is beyond me!’ 

Ms Minnaar claimed she was raped by Rossi after refusing to have sex with him during their relationship. She also alleged he ‘stole £3600’ from her. 

Rossi – who also goes by the name of Nicholas Alahverdian – is facing extradition by US authorities after allegedly raping a 21-year-old and another victim in Utah in 2008. 

He is said to have faked his own death and fled to Scotland to escape the charges. 

But, he claims he is a victim of mistaken identity and his name is Arthur Knight and has never been to America. 

Michelle Minnaar, 41, (pictured) claimed she began a five-month turbulent relationship with Nicholas Rossi after the pair met on a US dating website

Michelle Minnaar, 41, (pictured) claimed she began a five-month turbulent relationship with Nicholas Rossi after the pair met on a US dating website

Rossi (pictured in 2017) - who also goes by the name of Nicholas Alahverdian - is facing extradition by US authorities after allegedly raping a 21-year-old and another victim in Utah in 2008.

Rossi (pictured in 2017) – who also goes by the name of Nicholas Alahverdian – is facing extradition by US authorities after allegedly raping a 21-year-old and another victim in Utah in 2008.

The mother-of-two alleged that 34-year-old Nicholas Rossi (pictured) moved into her home in Cheltenham, Essex after he arrived in the UK in June 2017

The mother-of-two alleged that 34-year-old Nicholas Rossi (pictured) moved into her home in Cheltenham, Essex after he arrived in the UK in June 2017

The pair first hit it off in May 2017 after messaging back and fourth, but the mother-of-two claims he was ‘pushy’ and ‘kept insisting he should come to the UK’. 

She added: ‘Nicholas messaged me first and we instantly connected. He seemed intellectual and sweet, and soon after we were messaging every day on Skype. We then started video calling and I told him about my two children.

‘He used the name Nicholas Alahverdian when we met and claimed it was his father’s surname. However, he also used the name Nicholas Rossi and said it was from his mother. I never thought anything of it at the time.’

Ms Minnaar claimed after Rossi arrived at her home, she realised ‘he was not who he seemed’ and maintained a ‘strange relationship’ with her daughter while ignoring her son who suffers with autism and global developmental delay.

She added: ‘He had a strange relationship with my daughter, who was seven at the time. I won’t say inappropriate because I was there to keep things in check. But he was touchy-feely. 

Rossi (pictured) is accused of faking his death from cancer in the US to avoid a sexual assault charge, before fleeing to Scotland

Rossi (pictured) is accused of faking his death from cancer in the US to avoid a sexual assault charge, before fleeing to Scotland

‘He would always envelope her in his arms to cuddle her and sat her on his knee. He completely ignored my son. He called him a “waste of space”. It was like he constantly wanted to divide us as a family.’

She alleged he ‘stole £3,600 from her’ and ‘gaslit her’ during their five-week relationship. 

Ms Minnaar added: ‘When he arrived, he told me he needed money because he had spent all his savings on first-class tickets to get to the UK. He said he needed them because he had a medical problem meaning he had to lie down as he had a bad back. 

‘He constantly gaslit me and would cry if I ever told him no. He would say he gave up everything to come and be with me. He used my credit card and paid for everything with my money. He spent £3,600 in total. I gave him everything I could afford. He never paid for a single thing.’

Ms Minnaar claimed Rossi raped her and then ‘carried on as if nothing had happened’.

Ms Minnaar claimed Rossi (pictured) 'stole £3,600 from her' and 'gaslit her' during their five-week relationship

Ms Minnaar claimed Rossi (pictured) ‘stole £3,600 from her’ and ‘gaslit her’ during their five-week relationship

She added: ‘He always wanted to have sex. It was constant. After a week of him staying with me, I got up one morning and got dressed as usual. He was sitting on the bed. 

‘He suddenly got up and as I was going to leave and blocked me at the door. I told him no because I wasn’t in the mood, but he was smiling and kissing my neck. I tried to stop him multiple times, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. 

‘He grabbed my wrists and I just remember feeling powerless. It’s such a haze but I felt defeated and remember laying back on the bed and just thinking, “Please just get it over with”. After he’d finished, he rolled over without saying a word and I went downstairs. We never had sex again after that.’

Opening up about his extradition hearing, which was delayed after a second ‘sudden and unexplained deterioration’ in his ‘medical condition’, Ms Minnaar said him showing up to court in a wheelchair and oxygen mask was ‘another example’ of his ‘manipulation’

Rossi has also been accused of an elaborate plot to fake his own death and died of 'non-Hodgkin lymphoma' with his wife and two children by his bedside, according to his family's obituary.

Rossi has also been accused of an elaborate plot to fake his own death and died of ‘non-Hodgkin lymphoma’ with his wife and two children by his bedside, according to his family’s obituary.

A former friend confirmed he was Rossi based on a scar above his right eye and tattoos of a barcode and a bird's wing on his arms (Pictured: Nicholas Rossi)

A former friend confirmed he was Rossi based on a scar above his right eye and tattoos of a barcode and a bird’s wing on his arms (Pictured: Nicholas Rossi)

Essex Police told MailOnline they are investigating the rape claim.

In a statement they said: ‘On April 28, 2022, we received an historic report of rape in Chelmsford. Our enquiries are ongoing.’

Rossi was apprehended in Glasgow earlier this year after being admitted to hospital with Covid-19, and attended court in a wheelchair and wearing a breathing mask connected to an oxygen tank at his last court appearance in May. 

He moved to Bristol and married Miranda Knight in February 2020. 

He has also been accused of an elaborate plot to fake his own death and died of ‘non-Hodgkin lymphoma’ with his wife and two children by his bedside, according to his family’s obituary.

It has been alleged his last words to his family were: ‘Fear not and run toward the bliss of the sun’, reports The Mirror.

A former friend confirmed he was Rossi based on a scar above his right eye and tattoos of a barcode and a bird’s wing on his arms.

He was also arrested earlier this month for allegedly threatening two hospital medics, and authorities say his fingerprints taken at that time prove he is Rossi.

Rossie's wife, Miranda Knight, was also seen arriving at court earlier this month

Rossie’s wife, Miranda Knight, was also seen arriving at court earlier this month 

Rossi, who denied that was his identity when asked at the start of proceedings, repeatedly asked for oxygen.

Representing himself, the man said: ‘I can’t think properly or address my argument because I don’t have any oxygen and I have not for nearly 36 hours and I’m hypoxic.’

But Sheriff McFadyen said: ‘I have been told your saturation levels have been tested and they are normal.’

The suspect then told the court that they were using ‘a Poundland’ oximeter, a medical device which measures the amount of oxygen in blood.

The suspect, who was in a wheelchair, was recently charged with threatening two hospital nurses at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Procurator Fiscal Julie Clark told the court that he has had his fingerprints taken in relation to that case.

Scottish prosecutors said at the time that the fingerprints ‘were confirmed to be Nicholas Rossi,’ using that to argue against giving him bail.

But it was the opinion of the Lord Advocate that those prints should not be used for the extradition matter, so another sample must be provided.

An alleged fugitive who is said to have faked his own death to dodge US sex charges will have his fingerprints taken in an effort to prove who he is. He claims he is Arthur Knight, who has never been to the United States, but American prosecutors say he is an American fugitive

An alleged fugitive who is said to have faked his own death to dodge US sex charges will have his fingerprints taken in an effort to prove who he is. He claims he is Arthur Knight, who has never been to the United States, but American prosecutors say he is an American fugitive

Rossi previously said he would agree to providing his prints, but said he did not want police in Scotland to be the ones doing so.

Sheriff McFadyen, though, said the warrant was granted ‘for fingerprints to be taken by officers from Police Scotland at Her Majesty’s Prison Edinburgh. I will make arrangements for officers to attend for that purpose.’

He also said the next hearing of the extradition case would be adjourned until August 11, after the hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court into the allegations he threatened two members of staff.

Rossi denied shouting, swearing, and pursuing a consultant and senior nurse at the hospital and was remanded in custody, pending a trial fixed for August. 

The hearing comes as US authorities charged Rossi with another count of rape. 

Rossi previously requested that press be restricted from attending his court hearings after prosecutors said he was using ‘every means possible to delay extradition proceedings.’

He claimed that the media committed contempt of court by ‘continually referring to me as Nicholas Rossi,’ but Sheriff Noble said there was no risk of prejudice as the case would be decided by a judge and not a jury.

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