The Untalented Mr Ripley.
An American fugitive is fighting extradition from the UK by pretending to be a chronically ill Englishman called ‘Arthur Knight’.
Nicholas Alahverdian was a convicted sex offender and alleged fraudster wanted by US police until, in 2020, he faked his own death from lymphoma.
An unidentified ‘widow' phoned American media claiming that he had died, been cremated, and had his ashes scattered at sea.
A gushing online obituary described how "Nicholas Alahverdian's battle for life ended on February 29 2020” and that the disadvantaged families of Rhode Island ”whom he inspired and led through turbulent government transgressions have lost a warrior that fought on the front lines for two decades”.
Soon afterwards an English gentleman named ‘Arthur Knight’ popped up in Glasgow sporting a somewhat unplaceable accent and claiming that he was a professor working at the University of Glasgow.
Neighbours said he liked to wear large hats and bow ties and would visit pubs in three piece suits to opine loudly on Brexit while drinking whiskey.
One local told The Times, “For someone who was on the run, he really liked to draw attention to himself”.
Alahverdian was arrested in Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in December 2021 while he was intubated with Covid, after his arm tattoos were recognised and generated a tip-off from Interpol.
Since then Alahverdian has vehemently denied being Alahverdian as he fights extradition.
Although he was released on bail last year, he is now back in jail despite various excellent strategies like refusing to give police a sample of his DNA or his fingerprints and allegedly attacking a prison guard.
The many faces of (L-R) Knight, Alahverdian, Knight, Alahverdian.
An interview he conducted with US show Dateline several months ago is now due to be broadcast.
In a promotional clip that resembles a comedy sketch, Alahverdian appears absolutely flabbergasted when it is suggested that, despite taking the most English name he could think of and dressing like Billy Bunter, people don't believe he is Arthur Knight.
Alahverdian was interviewed alongside his British wife, Miranda Knight, and explains, “We were once a normal family, but thanks to the media our lives have been interrupted”.
Speaking through an oxygen mask, he continues, “And we'd like privacy and I would like to go back to being a normal husband, but I can't because I can't breathe, I can't walk”.
In an attempt to prove his condition, he then declares over his wife’s objections, “People say that’s an act - let me try to stand up, let me try to stand up”, and staggers halfway to his feet before slumping theatrically into his chair as she tries to stabilise him.
“Exactly, exactly”, he says.
When asked whether he is actually Alahverdian, as the Scottish courts concluded several months after the interview, his eBay Harry Potter glasses steam up with distress and he gasps through the mask, “I am not – Andrea, I am not Nicholas Alahverdian, I do not know how to make this clearer!”
Challenged by the interviewer whether he’s putting on an act with "crocodile tears", he sobs, “That is a low blow, that is a very low blow”.
In a land where Jacob Rees Mogg is real, couldn't there also be an Arthur Knight?
The valiant Arthur Knight's ongoing battle for justice in a world gone mad has seen him sack at least six lawyers.
He has also argued that his fingerprints were tampered with to match Alahverdian's, and even claimed that, when he was unconscious with Covid in hospital, someone tattooed him so he would resemble the US fugitive.