The investigative journalist behind the hit true crime podcast documenting the extraordinary story of Nicholas Rossi has revealed how she was charmed by the US fugitive after being invited round to his home for dinner.

Jane MacSorley’s chilling podcast, I Am Not Nicholas, seeks to solve the riddle of the fraudster’s identity.  

He claims he is Irish-born orphan Arthur Knight and not a US citizen suspected of faking his own death before fleeing to the UK to escape allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Despite a court ruling last November that he is Rossi after his tattoos and fingerprints matched those of the fugitive, he insists it is a case of mistaken identity.

In August, Edinburgh Sheriff Court also ruled that there is no impediment to the 36-year-old being extradited, with the ruling now being considered by Scottish ministers.

READ MORE: Wife of rape suspect who faked own death saves her PR firm from being struck off

Ahead of her appearance at CrimeCon Glasgow this weekend, MacSorley divulged what spurred her on to create the podcast, which was the result of her year-long investigation into Rossi.

She told The Herald: “I’m always looking at the news online and I’m always looking ahead at what might work as a potential podcast and long-form journalism-wise what might be good to look at. It just stuck out completely as a soon as I saw it on the BBC News Scotland website. 

“It wasn’t the lead or anything but it grabbed me straight away. It was ‘US man who faked death found alive in Glasgow’.

“There was just so much in it to unpack at the outset. I didn’t know the half of it. Who doesn’t love fake death, a fugitive on the run and multiple aliases?. It was transatlantic and Scotland, on my doorstep. 

“I was looking around for a story and I thought, ‘Well somebody will take this’ because I was fascinated by it. I worked on it like a mad thing unpaid for a few weeks but speaking to BBC Studios and Audible they were making the right noises and we went into development and it was commissioned. 

The Herald: Investigative journalist Jane MacSorleyInvestigative journalist Jane MacSorley (Image: Newsquest)

“It didn’t take that long really because they knew I was on to it and had made great inroads and knew I had access. The story was made for a podcast. All the time you could just peel back those layers. It was a great project. I loved it.”

After the “incredible moment” that was first clasping eyes on Rossi in Edinburgh Sheriff Court  in January 2022, it wasn’t long before she found herself invited to his home for dinner after she was able to establish contact with him. 

She said: “I couldn’t believe it. It was what I wanted but I didn’t realise it would happen so quickly. I thought maybe I would meet him at some point, and I was hopeful but to be asked round for dinner as the first sort of meeting, it’s a rather odd thing. You might be asked round to a potential interviewee’s house for a cup of tea, but I’d never been asked round for dinner.

“I was very excited, but I was nervous because it seemed very much like he was this fugitive that was very violent. A sexually violent man who was on the run, with a conviction for sexual assault. He had a reputation. I went in alone, but I had a backup man, a security man outside on the street. I had a panic thing necklace that I wore around my neck that you couldn’t notice. 

“We had an arrangement that I had to send an emoji every half-an-hour. I was in there for four-and-a-half hours. It would have been odd, especially being a BBC production, for me to go in without anything. I felt well supported. And once I was in there I just couldn’t get away.

READ MORE: Rape suspect Nicholas Rossi can be extradited to US, sheriff rules

“He tried to bowl me over with his charm. He was charming. He was wearing a three-piece suit with a bowtie. He was in his slippers and his wheelchair, and he was very welcoming and very warm. He was very chatty and decent. And I thought, ‘OK, what’s going on here?’”

MacSorley admitted that she even went as far as to question whether or not police might have made a “terrible mistake” and had the wrong man after Rossi rolled up his sleeve to show her his bare left forearm, devoid of the tattoos shown on images of the US fugitive released by Interpol.

“He pulled back his sleeve. I was sitting half-a-metre away from him and I had my glasses on and there was nothing. I was taken in,” she said.

However, the ruse was unravelled when one of Rossi’s ex-wives revealed to Ms MacSorley in the days following the dinner that from 2015 to 2016 when they were together, he was going through the process of getting the tattoos on his forearm tattoos removed.

MacSorley also continues to wonder why, almost three years after his arrest at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Rossi continues to claim he is a victim of mistaken identity.

She said: “I am surprised because you just think, ‘When? Just recently there at the hearings in July every day the clerk of the court would ask, ‘Are you Nicholas Rossi?, and he would say, ‘No’. And then on the fifth day or seventh day he wouldn’t even lift his head to answer. I cannot get my head around it.”

CrimeCon Glasgow is being held at Hilton Glasgow on Saturday, September 16. All nine episodes of the I am Not Nicholas podcast are available to listen to on Audible here

This weekend CrimeCon Glasgow is teaming up with The Herald for a special event to shed light on the inside story of one of the country’s leading forensic scientists.

The Herald’s Kevin McKenna will be hosting a session and interviewing Jo Millington who has been using science to help solve major crime for over 25 years.

An experienced interviewer, who has put some of the toughest questions to high profile and controversial personalities in Scotland, the session is expected to be one of the stand out events at this year’s CrimeCon.

Millington started her career in Scotland, before moving to the homicide division of the Forensic Science Service in London. She transferred from there to the Specialist Forensics Division of the Metropolitan Police Service, and then joined a small independent company before setting up her own forensic consultancy. She has worked on many high-profile forensic investigations from all over the world.

McKenna said: “I am looking forward to interviewing Jo and exploring how forensic science can play a part in change the course of investigations and ultimately people’s lives. I am sure the Glasgow CrimeCon audience will be enthralled.”

Millington is a renowned specialist in Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (BPA) and delivers a range of training courses on the subject to professionals and true crime fans, including online and internationally.

Nancy Baughen, Event Director, CrimeCon UK said: “We have an incredible schedule of exclusive content for CrimeCon Glasgow visitors this year. We knew, after the success of the event last year, that we had to bring the ultimate true crime event back to Glasgow.”