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US citizen charged with killing Dominican in Anguilla claims self-defense

By Ian Mohr and Mara Siegler

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A photo of Scott Hapgood and his family and another of him allegedly taken after the incident. * Courtesy of the Hapgood family

(PAGE SIX) — The family of Scott Hapgood — the UBS banker accused of manslaughter in the death of an Anguilla hotel worker — released a lengthy statement Thursday claiming that “our dream vacation turned into a chilling nightmare” and a “literal fight to survive.”

The statement claims, “When Scott and our family went on vacation, we never thought he would end up defending himself and our young children against an armed intruder.”

The Connecticut family also released a photo allegedly taken after the attack showing the strapping Hapgood with a bloodied face and chest.

Hapgood’s been accused by Anguillan authorities of killing a staff member, Kenny Mitchel, at the luxury Malliouhana resort on April 13 in his room. But the Darien banker has claimed via his reps that it was a case of “self-defense to protect the lives of his young daughters and himself.”

Mitchel

The case has caused outrage among many locals who claim Hapgood was given special treatment as a wealthy tourist, as he was jailed but then allowed to post bail and leave the island.

Rumors and speculation surrounding the case have popped up on social media sites, including comments on the Royal Anguilla Police Force’s Facebook page.

The Hapgoods have previously claimed that a “worker showed up unannounced in uniform at [Hapgood’s] hotel room, claiming he was there to fix a broken sink before carrying out his sudden, violent attack on the family.”

On Thursday, the family then went into further detail in a new statement, saying they’ve fully cooperated with authorities and “a fair and just process for Scott must be ensured as his future hangs in the balance. For these reasons, the facts we now share are to establish what did not take place on or before April 13.”

The statement then makes a series of claims:

“Neither Scott nor any member of our family made any call for a maintenance request to our hotel room on April 13, 2019, or at any time prior.”

“Neither Scott nor any member of our family knew the attacker before April 13, 2019, when he came to our room, dressed in the hotel’s uniform. The attacker arrived minutes after our minor daughters walked back to the hotel room on their own. The man knocked on the door, saying he was there to fix a broken sink. Scott indicated the sinks were not broken as far as he was aware, but that the man was free to have a look. Like any of us would, he trusted a hotel staff person in uniform.”

“Neither Scott nor any member of our family had any conversations with the attacker at any time prior to him coming to the hotel room on April 13, 2019.”

“During the attack, Scott did not choke the attacker. Scott himself sustained severe injuries as a result of the physical struggle which ensued. Scott was literally fighting for his life. He was bitten multiple times by the attacker, including on his face. After the attacker was restrained by a security guard, and before Scott was taken to the hospital to receive medical treatment for his injuries, we took the included photo.”

“Scott’s wife was not present in the room at the time of the attack on Scott and his minor children.”

“Scott’s wife did not film the attack on Scott and his minor daughters. When she arrived, she was focused on the safety of her children and husband.”

“Neither Scott nor any member of his family took photos of the attacker.”

The family also said, “Scott did not check into the Four Seasons resort the ‘very first day’ after the attack. In contrast, he was in jail. After the attack, Scott was taken to the hospital to attend to his injuries, and then to the police station. While he was giving a witness statement, he first learned that the attacker passed away. Scott spent that evening in the police station. Upon his initial release, Scott was checked into the Four Seasons by the Malliouhana resort, which paid for the stay. Two days later, Scott was arrested and charged, handcuffed, and detained. This detention was one of the most grueling events of his life. Then, as soon as he could, Scott returned home to the United States.”

A death certificate previously revealed that Mitchel was killed by “prone restraint, positional asphyxia and blunt force trauma to the head, neck and torso.”

And Mitchel’s surviving family and others have come to his defense.

“Everyone on the island can vouch for him,” Haydn Hughes, a former parliamentary secretary of tourism and a local radio host, told website The Root. “He is a hard worker; he did a lot of jobs at the hotel, he comes from a very good family, his father has a stellar record, brother has an unblemished record … So, nobody can say that he was the type of person who would try to rip off someone or try to steal.”

Mitchel’s brother Kimon Mitchel told NBC News: “He would never try something that dumb. Even if it was possible, he would not. … It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t add up.”

Hapgood, a former Ivy League lacrosse player, was freed on about $74,000 bond and is due to return to Anguilla court in the case in August. His local lawyer has said Hapgood plans to “return to Anguilla to clear his name.”

Local police have posted online that they “acknowledge the fact that people want information in respect of the recent arrest and charging of a US tourist, however, like all [investigations,] these are not conducted on social media.”

Another post by a police commissioner said: “This matter is now before a competent court and the law should be allowed to take its course without interference. I am aware that members of the public have different views on the issue and you are entitled to your respective views and I respect your views, I also respect your fundamental rights of freedom of expression, all I am asking Is that you do not say or do anything that can jeopardize the case and let the process take its course.”

Page Six was the first US outlet to report on the case.

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This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

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