The Connecticut banker charged with manslaughter for the death of an Anguillan hotel worker arrived back on the Caribbean island on Wednesday ahead of his first court appearance.
Scott Hapgood, 44, went to court on Thursday morning for a procedural hearing, the first in his case, for the death of Kenny Mitchel, a 27-year-old hotel worker who died after a fight in Hapgood’s hotel room in April.
He flew on a commercial flight from New York on Wednesday accompanied by bodyguards.
On Thursday morning, he was seen arriving at court with his legal team. He gave no comment as he made his way inside.
Mitchel’s relatives attended the hearing. His brother spoke to reporters outside, saying: ‘I wish Mr. Hapgood good luck. I wish him good luck with his lies.’
Hapgood claims Mitchel showed up unannounced at their room at the upscale Malliouhana resort claiming to want to fix the sink, then produced a knife and tried to rob him.
The pair fought and Mitchel died of asphyxiation and blunt force trauma.
After appearing at a Manhattan press conference on Tuesday where he said he was surprised by his arrest and had acted in self-defense, Hapgood flew back to Anguilla on Wednesday.
Scott Hapgood is shown arriving back in Anguilla on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s court appearance
Hapgood was with his two young daughters in his hotel room at the upscale Malliouhana resort on April 13, when he alleges employee Kenny Mitchel, 27, pulled a knife and tried to rob them after claiming he came to the room to fix the sink.
He says he fought off Mitchel and killed him in self-defense, which has left his family ‘hanging on by a thread’ but says, ‘I would do it again and thank God I was in that room when he came,’ during a Tuesday press conference.
A toxicology report revealed Mitchel, 27, had cocaine, marijuana and other drugs in his system as well as alcohol when he was killed
‘I wish the trial was today,’ he admitted to The NY Post on Wednesday. ‘I wish the facts were coming out today so I could move on with my life.’
Hapgood and his international attorney Juliya Arbisman traveled to the Caribbean island of Anguilla this week in order to meet his bail conditions.
He had just returned from the island Monday before returning two days later.
At the airport, Hapgood was accompanied by a security guard and said the Royal Anguilla Police Force would also be providing him with additional security.
The announcement followed Hapgood’s claims that he’s faced threats since the killing and has been frustrated by his dealings with the local judicial process and the local government.
The UBS financial adviser was arrested and charged with manslaughter four days after the attack and was held at Her Majesty’s Prison in Anguilla after he was denied bail.
‘I’m surprised by the arrest,’ Hapgood reflected to the Post Wednesday. ‘I was innocent from day one.’
Hapgood killed Kenny Mitchel in front of his two daughters. Despite his fears over the fairness of his impending trial, he has ‘no choice’ but to put his faith in the justice system
‘I wish the trial was today,’ Hapgood admitted to The Post on Wednesday. ‘I wish the facts were coming out today so I could move on with my life’
At a press conference, he said he was surprised he had been arrested. He is pictured with lawyer Juliya Arbisman
Hapgood and his wife Kallie are shown after the press conference on Tueasday
He was later released on $74,000 bond after his attorney appealed to the High Court in a move that sparked anger among Anguillans, who claimed he was receiving special treatment because he’s a wealthy tourist.
They demanded that he return to face justice in the British territory of nearly 15,000 people.
‘We want the same thing as the people of Anguilla: for the truth to come out,’ Hapgood said. ‘To that end, I will fully comply with the requirements of the court to ensure that all the facts are presented.
‘A great deal of misinformation and outright falsehoods have surrounded this story, and I am hopeful that when the real story is presented to the public, the people of Anguilla will understand how this tragic event unfolded.’
Arbisman says that she worries about Hapgood’s ‘ability to get a fair trial’ and says despite reports from the island, does not believe he’s received special treatment for being American.
‘We’re urging prosecutors and law enforcement to work with us to ensure a safe, fair trial.’
Arbisman claimed that prosecutors withheld Mitchel’s toxicology report for two months.
It was revealed Monday the toxicology report showed Mitchel tested positive for cocaine, marijuana and other drugs at the time of his death.
The UBS banker claims the killing was in ‘self-defense to protect the lives of his young daughters and himself’ and is seen here with scratches and what the family say are bite marks
Police say that Hapgood’s two young daughters were in the room at the upscale Malliouhana resort (above) when Mitchel died
The report also concluded the 27-year-old father-of-one had a blood alcohol level of .181, which is more than double the legal limit in the US and UK.
It’s also been revealed that just a month before his April 13 death, Mitchel was arrested and charged with raping his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child Emily Garlick.
The case was pending at the time of his death but Garlick, who moved from the UK to Anguilla, told the New York Times that the incident was a ‘misunderstanding’.
‘It wasn’t a rape,’ Garlick said. ‘It was a misunderstanding. We had a spat. We had a disagreement. That was it.’
A Hapgood family spokesman said in response to the news: ‘It has been shocking to learn that the man who violently attacked Scott and forced him to defend his life was out on bail for a rape charge and intoxicated at the time on a potentially lethal combination of illegal narcotics.’
‘It’s certainly the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced,’ Hapgood said. ‘Not just the attack but the way I was treated on the island, the time I spent in jail.’
The family said in a statement in May that Hapgood was ‘fighting for his life’ and was bitten multiple times in the confrontation.
Hapgood has returned to the island of Anguilla to face manslaughter charges (pictured stepping off the plane)
Hapgood (pictured during his arrest) was originally denied bail, but a judge later approved his application for $74,000 in bail
According to the spokesperson, Mitchel showed up to the family’s room ‘unannounced in uniform’ and claimed ‘he was there to fix a broken sink before carrying out his sudden, violent attack on the family’.
‘All that I did was defend my young daughters in front of an attacker that was crazed and desperate and I have to just hold onto that fact,’ Hapgood said.
‘This has been my first experience with legal matters, so I’m very nervous,’ Hapgood added. ‘But I know that my family were victims.’
He thanked his family and legal team for supporting him and for ‘staying so strong throughout this process.’
‘We have a long road ahead of us, but I’m looking forward to someday getting back to the life we once had,’ he said.
Mitchel had been arrested and charged with raping ex-girlfriend and mother of his child Emily Garlick, who later called the incident a ‘misunderstanding’ and said it was not rape