Wheelchair using rape suspect facing extradition kicked down door court told
Written by First Choice Radio on 28 June 2023
The prison doctor for rape suspect Nicholas Rossi has told a court she does not know why he uses a wheelchair as she saw a video of him kicking down a door and attacking an officer.
Dr Barbara Mundweil, a GP at HMP Edinburgh, has been Rossi’s doctor since early September last year when she started work with the prison.
Giving evidence at Rossi’s extradition hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Wednesday, Dr Mundweil said she saw CCTV footage appearing to show Rossi kicking a door and then kicking a prison officer in the face.
It has been alleged that Rossi, 35, faked his own death in 2020 and fled from the US to the UK to evade prosecution for series of allegations, including rape.
He claims to be an Irish orphan called Arthur Knight but a court ruled last year that he is Rossi.
Dr Mundweil told the court: “The door was kicked with a leg and Mr Rossi claims to be paralysed. I saw the leg in the open door.”
Advocate depute Alan Cameron questioned her about Rossi’s use of an electric wheelchair.
Mr Cameron said: “Is it clear to you what the reason (for the wheelchair) is?”
“No,” she replied.
Dr Mundweil examined Rossi’s legs and said they appeared to be normal and did not look like those of a paraplegic.
She said: “I ran my hands over them and they felt strong and athletic.”
She told the court she had doubts about what he told her about his medical condition and he was not an easy patient to deal with.
Dr Mundweil was also asked by Mr Cameron if she had any concerns about any major illnesses Rossi may have.
“No,” she responded.
The court heard Rossi had complained on some occasions of being short of breath after he stopped using the oxygen he has been frequently seen with throughout the ongoing legal proceedings.
But when clinicians attended to Rossi to check this, he displayed oxygen levels of around 97 or 98.
Dr Mundweil added: “His oxygen levels have always been satisfactory.
“A healthy person has oxygen levels of around 98 or 99.
“It was not at a level that would cause any concern.”
Defending, Mungo Bovey KC presented a series of incidents where Rossi behaved in an abusive manner towards prison and healthcare staff, including one where he is alleged to have called someone “a f****** c***”.
He then put it to Dr Mundweil that Rossi might have a personality disorder, to which she responded: “I think he might have a personality disorder.”
The court also heard from Dr Angela Cogan, a psychiatrist from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow who assessed Rossi’s mental health while he was a patient there in December 2021.
She said she felt he “invited” diagnoses of psychiatric problems, but he did not appear to have any symptoms of mental health issues.
Rossi was arrested and detained while he was being treated for Covid-19 at the hospital in December 2021, in connection with an alleged rape in Utah.
The hearing, before Sheriff Norman McFadyen, continues.
Published: by Radio NewsHub