Shocking recordings have emerged of the threats made against a Connecticut banker charged in the death of a hotel worker in Anguilla as island authorities issued an arrest warrant after he refused to return for a court hearing.
Scott Hapgood, 46, refused to return to the Caribbean island for a court hearing on Monday, citing the vicious death threats he has received and concerns about receiving a fair trial.
Hapgood and his family say a hotel worker, Kenny Mitchel, 27, showed up at their room unannounced during their April vacation. They say he pulled a knife and threatened Hapgood and his young daughters before attacking the father.
Mitchel died, and Hapgood, who said he acted in self-defense, was charged with manslaughter.
A toxicology report said Mitchel had cocaine in his system at the time, but prosecutors pressed charges nonetheless after massive outcry from islanders to make an example of Hapgood.
An arrest warrant was issued in Anguilla on Tuesday after Hapgood failed to return to the island for his latest court hearing.
Scott Hapgood, 46, (left in October in Connecticut) was due in court in Anguilla on Monday morning for the latest hearing in his case but he did not show up. He is charged with manslaughter for the death of 27-year-old Kenny Mitchel (right)
Anguilla’s attorney general said Hapgood’s concerns about his safety and the fairness of proceedings are ‘totally groundless’.
Hapgood’s $74,000 bond was forfeited and the arrest warrant will be shared with Interpol, officials said.
‘Other formal processes will now commence regarding Hapgood who is now a fugitive,’ the attorney general’s office said. ‘The Crown remains determined to progress this case.’
It came as Hapgood released sick voicemail messages, which he received on April 25 from a Connecticut area code, repeatedly mentioning his daughters.
‘This is going to come back to you, my friend. It will come back to you. You are a racist ass,’ the unidentified male caller told Hapgood in the message.
‘And if I ever see your punk a** in Connecticut, I swear to God I’m going to jump you.’
The caller continues: ‘I swear to God this thing is going to come so quick you are never gonna expect what the f**k happened to you.
‘If I ever see you in Connecticut, you better get up outta here quick. Because the community is going to come round up your ass. And I hope your motherf***ing punk a** daughters are there too (expletive) watching. Try me.’
The voicemail is just one of many threats that Hapgood and his family have received since the April incident that ended in Mitchel’s death, spokesman Jamie Diaferia told the
A spokesman said Hapgood decided against returning to the island for Monday’s hearing because he was worried about his safety and Anguilla officials did not provide assurances he would be allowed to remain free on bond.
On Monday, Hapgood’s attorney attended the hearing in his place.
Hapgood and his family were staying at the Malliouhana Hotel (pictured) in April when he and Mitchel got into a fight when the latter appeared at his hotel room
Hapgood said Mitchel produced a knife and fought him. He is pictured afterwards. Hapgood’s wife and daughters are pictured after the fight, right
His spokesman told DailyMail.com that he could not attend, given the circumstances, for fear of attack or being thrown in jail.
‘There is a significant likelihood Scott’s incarceration would be indefinite, as a trial may not happen for many years.
‘Second, there is near certainty the death threats he has received will come to fruition if he were to be held in an Anguillan prison for any length of time.
‘For these reasons, Scott has not returned to Anguilla,’ he said.
He declined to state whether the banker would ever agree to go back, saying only: ‘We’re only focused on this particular hearing at the moment, so we have no comment on whether he would return in the future.’
Hapgood, he added, offered to appear via video link but his spokesman says the court refused.
He also says it is ‘abundantly clear’ that the case against him is prejudiced.
‘Seven months ago, an employee of the Malliouhana Hotel on the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla, who was high on a cocktail of drugs including cocaine and had a pending rape charge, entered Scott Hapgood’s hotel room under false pretenses, attacked Scott and threatened the lives of two of his minor children. In response, Scott defended himself and his children,’ he said.
‘When the attacker died – in the hospital about an hour after the attack – Scott was charged with manslaughter. Three independent medical experts have now concluded that the attacker died due to the drugs in his system.
‘Despite the unfairness of the charge continuing, Scott has cooperated with the Anguillan legal process and has returned to the island three times for hearings in an effort to clear his name.
‘But it has become progressively apparent that Scott would not receive a fair trial in Anguilla.’
The 46-year-old banker was allowed to return back to the US in April after posting $75,000 in bail money. He has since returned to Anguilla several times for appearances (he is shown in August) but his legal team now say it is too dangerous for him to go back
His team claims witnesses ‘altered their accounts’, submitted false statements and that the state hid a toxicology report which speaks to how many drugs Mitchel had taken at the time of his death.
‘An inflammatory and false rhetoric has also grown around this case. Scott was accused of perpetrating racial violence. In many of the witness statements submitted into evidence by the Crown, Scott was referred to as simply ‘the Caucasian’ or the ‘white man.’
Mitchel had been charged with rape weeks before his death. He also had lethal amounts of cocaine in his system when he died
‘These accusations are deeply offensive and wrong. Scott’s race, and Kenny Mitchel’s race, are irrelevant to the facts of what happened,’ he added.
Prosecutors in Anguilla are yet to respond to his comments and allegations.
Mitchel’s friends and family have already disputed Hapgood’s version of events and his team’s characterization of the hotel worker.
Hapgood’s attorney, Juliya Arbisman, said: ‘We understand there will be people in Anguilla who say Scott is running from a trial. That is 100 percent false.
‘There is nothing Scott wants more than to clear his name and get his life back. But he cannot clear his name if he is dead, or if the legal process by which he is bound is fundamentally biased and unjust.’
The hearing on whether or not the case should go to trial is expected to last two days.
Earlier this week, his mother-in-law gave an interview voicing the same fears as he has shared.
‘I’m very hopeful that we will get some sort of guarantee he will return,’ she said.
‘What we’re most afraid of is that they will decide to remand him to prison meaning he will be stuck on the island.
‘He knows he’s innocent and he wants to clear his name.’