Listen to threatening message left for Scott Hapgood
DARIEN — In a profanity-laced voicemail, a man says he hopes Scott Hapgood will “rot” in jail and threatens violence if they cross paths in Connecticut.
The message, which repeatedly references Hapgood’s daughters, is one of many the Darien man has received since being charged with manslaughter in the death of an Anguillan hotel worker while he was on a family vacation in April.
“This is going to come back to you, my friend. It will come back to you. You are a racist ass,” the unidentified male caller told Hapgood. “And if I ever see your punk ass in Connecticut, I swear to God I’m going to jump you. I swear to God this thing is going to come so quick you are never gonna expect what the (expletive) happened to you.
“If I ever see you in Connecticut, you better get up outta here quick. Because the community is going to come round up your ass. And I hope your mother (expletive) punk ass daughters are there too (expletive) watching. Try me.”
Hapgood’s spokesman, Jamie Diaferia, released the audio on Tuesday. Diaferia said the voicemail was received on April 25 — a few weeks after the death of Kenny Mitchel — and came from a phone number with a 203 area code. Diaferia said Hapgood has received other similar threatening messages.
Anguillan authorities have declared Hapgood a fugitive after he failed to appear Monday for a court hearing on the Caribbean island. Hapgood’s defense team cited the death threats, concerns over an unfair Anguillan legal system and the possibility of him being sent back to jail as reasons why he will not return to the British territory.
In a statement released Tuesday, the attorney general and the governor of Anguilla dismissed the concerns as “groundless.”
However, Hapgood’s defense team said the UBS trader has faced “relentless” attacks through social media and the voicemail released Tuesday is just one example of what he has been dealing with since April.
Hapgood’s attorney, Juliya Arbisman said the threats have caused her client to fear for his life.
“The threats have been made by phone (against him and his daughters), calls to personal and professional phone lines,” Arbisman said. “Some of the numbers were from local numbers. Then the social media threats have been relentless from the outset.”
Hapgood was originally held at Her Majesty’s Prison in Anguilla when he was denied bail in the killing of Kenny Mitchel, 27. But he was later released on bond after his attorney appealed to the High Court, sparking outrage among residents on the island. The judge who denied Hapgood’s bail in April was also scheduled to preside over Monday’s hearing.
“The most direct and severe threats were made to Scott when he was in prison awaiting his bail hearing,” Arbisman said. “While he was alone in a cell, all the inmates knew who he was and what he was charged with. One night, he endured six hours of screaming that they would come after him, bash his head in, and other threats to his personal safety.
“Many of these threats addressed him as ‘white guy,’ which made the situation even more acute. None of the prison guards appeared to have a control on the situation or chose not to diffuse it.”
Several comments posted on Facebook groups advocating for Mitchel have referenced seeking justice and “karma” when it comes to Hapgood.
Mitchell's death and the police handling of the investigation have prompted widespread social media outcries alleging racism and favoritism for white tourists who visit the Caribbean country.
Darien Police have said the Hapgood family has had “offensive” behavior directed toward them, but those actions have not been criminal.
“We’ll continue to work with the family on a case-by-case basis during this challenging time for them,” Capt. Jeremiah Marron has said.
On Monday, Darien Police Chief Donald Anderson said the extradition process would be handled by the U.S. State Department and his officers would not be involved.
“Our staff is aware of these latest developments in this matter and we will continue to provide reasonable, professional patrol (both general and focused) and effective response to ensure public safety,” Anderson wrote in a statement.