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Daily Record
Daily Record
Sally Hind

US Nicholas Rossi prosecutor says case led him to buy £1million Scots castle

A prosecutor in the US who fought to extradite fugitive rape suspect Nicholas Rossi has told how the case led to him buying a £1million Scottish castle.

Former Utah county attorney David Leavitt is the new owner of A-listed Knockderry Castle in Helensburgh, Argyll. He left his job last month amid controversy surrounding the Rossi case.

Leavitt had been tracking the American sex offender, who was traced to a Covid ward at a Glasgow hospital and is now in Edinburgh’s Saughton Prison awaiting extradition. The attorney told the Record the Rossi case was largely responsible for him losing out on re-election to his Republican role.

Rossi leaving Edinburgh Sheriff And Justice Of The Peace Court (PA)

But it meant he could finally commit to a decade-long dream of renovating a Scottish castle. He said: “Nicholas Rossi has given me a tremendous opportunity to refocus my life in something completely different to what I did before.

“I hold no official position, I’m not even practising law at this point. I’m having a wonderful time trying to bring back a part of Scottish heritage that I think was on the verge of being lost.”

The ex attorney is the new owner of Knockderry Castle (Alasdair Baird )

In November, Leavitt praised Scots law officers for nicking Rossi – who uses 16 aliases and claims to be an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight – after a five-year global manhunt. Rossi, 35, will appear in court next month to face an extradition hearing to return him to Utah, where he is wanted over two allegations of rape and one sexual assault.

Rossi arrived in the UK in 2017 after fleeing from the FBI in the US. He met wife Miranda and nine days after they married he faked his own death in his home state of Rhode Island.

Former Utah county attorney David Leavitt and his wife Chelom (UGC)

He was arrested after being taken to Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital with Covid in 2021. A judge revoked his bail last January after prosecutors said he was a “significant flight risk”.

Last year Leavitt revealed he and his wife had been accused by Rossi of being involved in “ritualised child sex abuse”. Leavitt and his relationship therapist wife Chelom paid £1.15million for the castle.

He said: “I wake up every morning with a smile on my face. I feel such a sense of gratitude that my wife and I have such an opportunity to do something positive and exciting.”

Knockderry had been at the centre of a 25-year legal battle after its previous owner Marian van Overwaele was made bankrupt after debts over a £230 bill spiralled and led to eviction proceedings.

Former US prosecutor David Leavitt warned yesterday that Nicholas Rossi must be kept behind bars – in any jurisdiction possible.

He said: “Rossi is a tragic sex predator who has victimised lots and lots and lots of women.

“The work I did on [this case] is among the most important I’ve done. I won’t be dealing with the case but my hope is that he is out of circulation for the rest of his life because he has devastated so many people, not only women.

“It doesn’t matter to me if it is the Scottish, English or American authorities that detain him – as long as he is detained and kept where he can’t hurt anybody else. He’s not just America’s problem, he’s everyone’s problem. He is someone from whom the world needs protection.”

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