A Darien, Connecticut man charged in the death of a hotel worker in Anguilla has declined to return to the British Caribbean territory for the latest pretrial hearing.
A spokesman for Scott Hapgood said Anguillan officials have not given assurances that his client would be allowed to return home on bond. Spokesman Jamie said there also have been death threats against Hapgood.
“In the lead up to the November 11 hearing – the final stage of the Preliminary Inquest – Scott’s legal team has worked tirelessly to obtain guarantees that he will be protected upon his return to Anguilla and that he would be allowed to return home on bail when the hearing ends. Despite these efforts, along with those of Senator Blumenthal and a bi-partisan group of other senators, members of Congress and the U.S. State Department, Anguillan officials have declined to give any such assurances. Scott has offered to appear at the November 11 hearing by video link, which was also rejected,” the statement from Diaferia says.
Hapgood and his family say a hotel worker, Kenny Mitchel, showed up at their room unannounced during their April vacation and demanded money before attacking them. Mitchel died and Hapgood was charged with manslaughter.
Elected officials including U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal had expressed concern about Hapgood's safety.
“This difficult decision was for the family to make, and only the family could fully assess the personal risks and uncertainties. I worked with Senate colleagues and the State Department in seeking to assure Scott Hapgood’s physical safety and fair, transparent legal proceedings. The State Department had discussions with British and Anguillan authorities. I continue to stand ready to help the Hapgood family in any appropriate way,” Blumenthal said in a statement.
Diaferia said Anguilla officials rejected an offer for Hapgood to appear by video link for Monday's hearing.