This, my friends, is why we blog.

After years of campaigning on their websites and in their mailings, ANGLICAN INFORMATION, can today hold their righteous heads up high and proclaim "Free at Last!"

Justice at last for men falsely accused of poisoning the late Canon Rodney Hunter

ANGLICAN-INFORMATION reports: In a significant judgement handed down today in Nkhota-kota, Diocese of Lake Malawi, a judge has acquitted Leonard Mondoma of murdering the late Canon Rodney Hunter.

Hunter had been a British missionary who had died in 2006 from natural causes due to cancer. His death had been claimed as a ‘poisoning’ and ‘murder’ by a twice suspended priest the Revd’ Dennis Kayamba. Kayamba had managed to persuade the local chief of police to arrest two men, Bernard Mlota (since deceased) and Leonard Mondoma, Hunter’s faithful cook.

Mlota was released on bail quite quickly but Leonard Mlota languished in prison for eighteen months, most of the time without charge, before finally being rescued from life-threatening conditions and being allowed out on bail. Nevertheless, charges brought by Dennis Kayamba remained outstanding.

One British newspaper journalist reported immediately after Dennis Kayamba’s original accusation, without any evidence, that the late Canon Hunter ‘was fatally poisoned’. The same journalist later published the names of three so-called ‘poisons’ found in Hunter’s blood samples as analysed in South Africa. These turned out to be prescription drugs. This irresponsible reporting, including attempts to suggest that others had been poisoned too, led to a frenzy of accusation amongst conservative religious websites and African newspapers, all of which took the journalist’s articles as fact.

Reports about these events as they occurred were covered by us at the time and can be found on our website at:

The tragic false accusations, backed up by scurrilous press reports pillorying an innocent victim, have at last been addressed by the court judgement released today. The judge cited the following as reasons for Mondoma’s acquittal:

· The prosecution failed to provide true evidence that Mondoma murdered Canon Hunter
· The police officers’ statement given to the court in the early days of the case lacked substance and was based solely on circumstantial evidence (i.e. Dennis Kayamba’s word alone)
· The pathologist’s report and claimed evidence of ‘poisons’ in Hunter’s blood in fact showed medicaments that were prescribed for Hunter by the local St Anne’s Hospital at his request
· Other forms of evidence (such as ‘Mondoma was in possession of Hunter’s house keys’, as incidentally was Dennis Kayamba) were pure speculation without support

The acquittal means that Leonard Mondoma now walks as a free man and the late Bernard Mlota has his name cleared for posterity.

So ends a disgraceful saga stoked up in particular by one British journalist and enthusiastically followed by conservative websites. It’s a sad world for small people but justice has prevailed – at a high price.

Postscript: Following Mondoma’s acquittal it is reported that crowds danced and sang him back to his home in celebration!

COMMENT: The English journalist in question is Ruth Gledhill. Her report is still up and you can view it HERE (it's not behind the pay wall). We all make mistakes and I expect Ruth realises how big this particular mistake was. Let this case be a lesson for all journalists and bloggers. We can change the world for the better, as ANGLICAN INFORMATION did in their campaign to free Leonard Mondoma and we can also change things for the worse. The problem is that it's not always obvious at the beginning which way you are going to swing things, whatever your motivations are.



  1. It is Ruth Gledhill, you’re right one of the only, no the only journalist who is prepared to quote the David Virtue website as an authoritative source.

    What she has precipitated in this case in pursuit of a sensational headline is actually unforgivable. Look what it did to that poor Malawian thrown into prison and kept there for over a year.

  2. Another reason to get rid of the death penalty; you can’t fix mistakes with the death penalty.
    FWIW, your PayPal brass plate has the Presbyterian Church-USA logo on the bottom pad; do you want them to get your money?

  3. Oh my, Ruth must feel absolutely gutted about this. She deserves a lot of sympathy, if I’d made a big mistake like that in public, I’d never live it down.

    And of course, cheers to all who persevered to let the truth prevail and thanks MP for keeping us up to date.

  4. Ruth Gledhill doesn’t deserve sympathy. She’s and experienced journalist, she must have known exactly what she was doing.

    It’s Leonard Mondama and the family of Bernard Mlota who deserve sympathy.

    What about a public apology from Ms Gledhill?

  5. Leonard Madama deserves more than our sympathy. He deserves compensation, especially from the church, and an apology from all those who destroyed his life.

    But Ruth Gledhill will have gone through agony over this and I’m sure she would apologise if she was allowed to. Ultimately, it is up to her employer to offer recompense to the person she hurt, after which, yes, a public apology from Ruth would be appropriate.

  6. I have read that Amnesty International are onto this case for compensation for Mondoma. Ruth Gledhill shouldn’t cross them.

    Anyway Mad Priest thank you for drawing this to our attention – but where is the Gledhill apology? If it comes will you publish it please?

  7. She would have to get permission from her boss because if she apologises her employer will have problems fighting any claim made against The Times.

    I’m in no way condoning that – it’s just the way capitalism works.

  8. This is not her first and I guess will not be her last big mistake. It is just that her bully pulpit covers so much more ground and wields so much more influence, so the consequences for others can be so much more serious when she gets it wrong.

  9. I don’t see why Ruth Gledhill cannot offer an apology ‘without prejudice’ on her own blog site. Anyway, is she even aware of her mistake? Does she actually care about the harm she has done to this innocent man and his family, not to mention the upset caused to Canon Hunter’s family?. It is clear now that his death was from natural causes and not the result of poisoning. I remember too, that it was also suggested that a London vicar and his supporters were also implicated in some way. How about an apology to them too?

  10. I always liked reading our Ruth, but now perhaps it’s best that she’s behind Rupert’s pay-wall where very few will ever read her…