PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — There is a new – and bizarre – wrinkle in the ongoing Nicholas Alahverdian saga that has captured international attention.
The BBC reported on Thursday that the Utah prosecutor who filed the original sexual assault charge against Alahverdian — triggering an international manhunt that ended in the U.K. — has bought a castle in Scotland, the same country where authorities captured the Rhode Island man two years ago.
Former Utah County Prosecutor David Leavitt purchased Knockderry Castle, located in a coastal county west of Glasgow. Leavitt and his wife purchased the 170-year-old castle for about $1.4 million, according to the report.
“My wife and I have been looking at Scottish castles for at least a decade,” Leavitt told the BBC.
Leavitt’s tenure as county prosecutor ended in January after he lost his re-election bid, but while there he launched arguably the highest-profile criminal case in the office’s history.
In 2017, Leavitt filed sexual assault charges against Alahverdian – aka Nicholas Rossi — after DNA evidence linked him to a 2008 rape case. Alahverdian vanished in 2020 only to reemerge in a Scottish hospital under the assumed name Arthur Knight. The patient was clinging to life after falling seriously ill with COVID.
Knight claimed to be an Irish orphan, but tattoos proved to be his undoing. A Scottish court determined Knight was in fact Alahverdian, after a Pawtucket police booking photo capturing images of tattoos on his arms were matched to those on Knight when he was in the hospital.
The court will decide whether or not to send Alahverdian back to the United States to faces charges in an extradition hearing next month.
Alahverdian is also facing an additional sexual assault charge in Utah, as well as fraud charges in Ohio, and is a suspect in several other cases in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as in the U.K.
The imposing stone castle Leavitt purchased has a controversial history, according to the BBC. The previous owner filed for bankruptcy and ultimately a Scottish court seized control of the property.
Since then, Knockderry has fallen into disrepair, and Leavitt estimated it would take several years to restore the historic property, the British news outlet reported.
Tim White (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Target 12 managing editor and chief investigative reporter at 12 News, and the host of Newsmakers. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.