The Connecticut banker charged with manslaughter for allegedly killing a hotel worker in Anguilla has had a GoFundMe page that raised $250,000 for him as he faces trial, has been pulled by the crowdfunding site for flouting rules.
GoFundMe held the money raised by Scott Hapgood’s supportive community and vowed not to release it unless he signed an agreement not to use the money for his legal defense, as the platform states it cannot be used in cases where someone has been accused of a violent crime.
It was after fuming supporters of dead Anguilla man Kenny Mitchel, 27, found out about the donations from people that saw anywhere from $100 to $5,000 being handed over to pay for Hapgood’s legal fight.
‘The epitome of white privilege,’ one disappointed person wrote on a Facebook page pushing for justice for Mitchel who was killed in April after he knocked on Hapgood’s Malliouhana hotel room door to fix the sink but brandished a knife, according to the 44-year-old father who was on vacation.
Scott Hapgood speaks outside court earlier this month following a hearing in Anguilla (left). Kenny Mitchel, 27, (right) was killed at the hotel where he worked and the Connecticut man has claimed it was self-defense
Scott Hapgood, 44, must sign a ‘declaration under threat of perjury’ that the $250,000 donations won’t be used to pay for his legal defense in Anguilla
Hapgood is currently awaiting trial and the friend who created the GoFundMe claimed his family was fighting to ‘regain the life they worked so hard to build’
‘This is how you buy your way out of murdering someone. His supporters are lined up and marching full speed ahead with no breaks[sic],’ another message read.
Hapgood’s lawyer, Juliya Arbisman, revealed to The New York Post details of GoFundMe’s contact with her client on Thursday.
He must sign a ‘declaration under threat of perjury’ that the donations won’t be used to pay for his defense after the page was created by friend Catherine Prichard, who asked his Darien neighbors for $400,000, saying: ‘Please help Scott and his family as they fight to regain the life they worked so hard to build.’
The trial was pushed back earlier this month after a brief court hearing on the Caribbean island.
Hagood is eager for his trial to begin but has been told it could take months.
Hapgood, a UBS banker who was on vacation with his family, says he fought Mitchel to protect his two daughters who had not long returned to their room when Mitchel appeared at the door.
Mitchel is pictured with his child (left). Scott Hapgood (right) is shown leaving court in Anguilla this month after a procedural hearing ahead of his manslaughter trial
After his appearance in August, Hapgood made a lengthy statement outside calling for a swift trial.
In a statement outside court, he said: ‘I’m grateful for the opportunity to appear in Anguillan court today because every court appearance means we are one step closer to putting this nightmare behind us.
‘A nightmare for my family but also for the people of Anguilla. We came to your beautiful island for a vacation just like many thousands of others do each year.
‘We came here because of how welcoming you all are. Unfortunately, my family and I were in the wrong place at the wrong time and in an instant, a tragedy resulted which has changed our lives forever.
‘We all want the same thing – justice. For me that means proving my innocence. To that end, I ask the AG to bring a case swiftly so we all can move on and heal.
‘We will continue to be trapped by delays when all we want is to present the evidence to conclusively prove my innocence,’ he said.
In a message to the island’s residents, he continued: ‘Lastly, to the people of Anguilla. I understand your anger.’
The family was staying at the upscale Malliouhana resort when the incident happened on April 13
Geshaune Clarke is a bellman at the Malliouhana Resort in Anguilla where Scott Hapgood was vacationing with his family in April
‘I have read the same false facts and untrue stories about what allegedly happened in that room on that fateful day in April.
‘If I lived here and believed those stories, I’d be angry too. But the stories you’ve read and heard are not what happened and someday I’ll be able to tell the real story in a legal setting.
‘The sooner that day comes the better.’
Geshaune Clarke is a bellman at the Malliouhana Resort in Anguilla where Hapgood was vacationing with his family in April.
He says he was the first to arrive in the family’s room after Hapgood tackled Mitchel to the ground in the bathroom.
Mitchel, he says, had arrived at the door unannounced claiming to want to fix the sink. Hapgood says that he then produced a knife and tried to rob him and that he fought him to protect his daughters.
Mitchel died after their fight and the cause of death was listed as asphyxiation and blunt force trauma to the head but he was alive for 30 minutes after initially coming to blows with Hapgood.
Hapgood said he was protecting his two daughters, who were also in the room, and that he would do it again
Now, as Hapgood awaits his next court date in Anguilla after making an initial appearance Clarke spoke out earlier this month.
He told CBS that he arrived and the fight was over. Mitchel, he said, was lying on his back and Hapgood ‘over him’.
The UBS banker is seen here with scratches and what the family say are bite marks from the fight
He claimed that for 30 minutes, Hapgood refused to let go of him, insisting that he would only get up when police arrived.
‘Kenny [was] on his back and Mr. Hapgood was over him,’ he said, adding that Hapgood’s forearm was on Mitchel’s neck.
‘I keep telling him, “I understand but you need to give him proper breathing space.” [Kenny] said, “Can I speak?”
‘Then in that same position, Mr. Hapgood looked down at him and said, “You don’t have a f*****g thing to say.”
‘He stated that he would not move, he would not get up, he would not do anything until police were present,’ he said.
Hapgood does not refute holding Mitchel down until police arrived. He previously told through his representatives that he feared the hotel workers might have been working together to attack him.
Clarke says that before police arrived, Hapgood’s wife started recording the scene on her phone.
‘I saw, when she pressed the record button,’ he said.
Many of the details of what happened inside the hotel room and beforehand remain unknown and he is eager to share his version of events at trial but is frustrated by the court’s handling of the case.
Mitchel’s brother was among relatives who attended the last hearing. They want to see the UBS banker put behind bars.
‘As long as he takes some jail… you take a life. You understand?’ he said.
Hapgood said he would do what he did again in order to protect his children at a press conference before he returned to Anguilla earlier this week.
The case has outraged local residents of Anguilla who say he should never have been granted bail. The banker returned to his home after being granted $74,000 bond in April.
He has vowed to attend every court appearance on the Caribbean island and is flying with a private security detail after being warned by local police that the situation could become dangerous for him if he stays on the island too long.