American Tourist Charged With Killing Robber In British West Indies
CORRECTION: The original version of this story incorrectly called Anguilla a British Virgin Island. It is a British Overseas Territory in the British West Indies.
Anguilla, BWI – An American tourist has been charged with the murder of a hotel employee whom he said attacked him in front of his daughters in their hotel room.
Gavin “Scott” Hapgood, 44, and his family were staying at the Malliouhana Resort on Anguilla in the British West Indies, enjoying a Caribbean vacation when the incident occurred, CNN reported.
Kelcey Kintner, a spokeswoman for the Hapgood family, released a detailed statement on May 2 that explained exactly what happened, according to the Connecticut Post.
The Hapgood family, of Darien, Connecticut, said a man claiming to be a maintenance employee showed up at their hotel room on April 13 and said he was there to fix a broken sink.
The family had not reported the sink broken, nor had they ever seen the employee before, according to their statement.
“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,” the statement read. “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.”
Kintner said Hapgood was “attacked without warning in his family’s hotel room by a maintenance worker who was armed and demanding money.”
She said the father acted in self-defense to “protect the lives of his young daughters and himself,” the Connecticut Post reported.
“Scott was literally fighting for his life,” the statement said. “He was bitten multiple times by the attacker, including on his face.”
The death certificate said the maintenance worker, identified as 27-year-old Dominican Republic-national Kenny Mitchel, died from “prone restraint, positional asphyxia and blunt-force trauma to the head, neck and torso.”
But the Hapgood family’s statement denied that the father choked Mitchel and said he had sustained serious injuries himself during the fight, the Connecticut Post reported.
The Hapgood family released a picture of Hapgood’s injuries after the altercation.
“Scott was literally fighting for his life. He was bitten multiple times by the attacker, including on his face,” the statement explained.
The picture was taken after hotel security had arrived and restrained Mitchel.
“Scott Hapgood did what any parent would do - defend himself and his children. And thanks to his actions, Scott and our family survived this terrible encounter,” the statement read.
Hapgood, who is a financial adviser for UBS, has been described as a loving husband and very involved father to his three children, the Connecticut Post reported.
“Scott has spent his entire life doing the right things: he is married to his college sweetheart, he has worked at the same company for over 20 years, he is a volunteer coach and a loving and devoted father,” the statement read.
The Royal Anguilla Police Force arrested Hapgood and charged him with manslaughter, according to the Connecticut Post.
Bail was initially denied when Hapgood appeared in court on April 17; however, the defendant retained local defense attorney Thomas Astaphan and he was able to convince the judge to grant a $75,000 bond to the American tourist, CNN reported.
Astaphan told the court that Hapgood would return for court in Anguilla on Aug. 22 because he wanted to clear his name, the Connecticut Post reported.
The bond conditions also required that Hapgood return to the island within three days of each subsequent hearing, according to CNN.
There was no security footage from the hotel available that showed any part of the incident.