MURPHY, BLUMENTHAL, HIMES URGE STATE DEPARTMENT TO PROTECT SCOTT HAPGOOD’S SAFETY

HARTFORD—U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), along with U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-4) led U.S. Senators Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) in sending a letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urging the State Department to ensure that Scott Hapgood’s safety is protected when he travels to Anguilla for his court appearance next Tuesday.

“We request the State Department do everything in its power to ensure that Mr. Hapgood’s safety is secured while traveling to and from Anguilla and during his stay on the island for the inquest. We further request that the State Department express its strongest concern and expectation to the British Government that the inquest – and any other legal proceedings in Anguilla – be conducted fairly and openly,” the members of Congress wrote.

Full text of the letter to the State Department can be found below:

Dear Secretary Pompeo:

            We are writing to express our concerns for the safety and fair treatment of Mr. Gavin Scott Hapgood by the government of Anguilla, a British overseas territory, and to alert the State Department that Mr. Hapgood will be traveling back to Anguilla as part of the ongoing inquest. 

We request the State Department do everything in its power to ensure that Mr. Hapgood’s safety is secured while traveling to and from Anguilla and during his stay on the island for the inquest. We further request that the State Department express its strongest concern and expectation to the British Government that the inquest – and any other legal proceeding in Anguilla – be conducted fairly and openly. Such proceeding should accord Mr. Hapgood all rights of due process and basic safeguards of fundamental justice, including the right to return to the United States during the pendency of any judicial proceeding. The proceeding should be transparent and fair, and include the presence of members of his legal team and representatives of the State Department. 

By way of background, Mr. Hapgood, a Connecticut resident, was vacationing in Anguilla with his wife and children. According to published reports, a hotel worker attacked Mr. Hapgood in his hotel room with his two daughters present. A struggle ensued and ultimately the hotel worker died. Mr. Hapgood was arrested and later allowed to return to the United States pending completion of the inquest. Published reports also indicate that an Anguillan toxicology report revealed that the hotel worker had a fatal combination of drugs in his body and that the official primary cause of death was later changed to drug overdose.  

Mr. Hapgood remains subject to the ongoing proceedings and must return to Anguilla on November 11.  Because there is evidence of unrest on Anguilla as a result of the hotel worker’s death and Anguillan officials raised issues of personal safety, the Hapgood family is very concerned about Mr. Hapgood’s safety when he returns.

We strongly urge the State Department to obtain from the British Government its ironclad guaranty of Mr. Hapgood’s safety and security during his stay on Anguilla for any proceeding. Such guaranty should also ensure the proceedings are conducted in accordance with judicial tenets of fairness and due process of law, including his right to return to the United States after the inquest. Ultimately, the government of the United Kingdom bears this responsibility.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this time sensitive request.

Sincerely,

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