Help save Leonie and Stacey Mendo

I know this is inappropriate for this blog but today I choose to allow my working world to intrude into conversations of the Anglican  Communion.

And this is only for UK readers, really, though all publicity will help.

Would you help keep Leonie Mendo and her daughter Stacey in the UK?

This is just a brief summary - there is more information in the letters.

Leonie Mendo is from Cameroon. She came to the UK at the invitation of a man she met over the internet. He locked her up, abused her and forced her into prostitution. When she became pregnant she was discarded. Only then was she able to ask the police for help.

But she had no papers. She asked to stay in the UK on the grounds that she deserved humanitarian protection. The immigration court did not believe her account, nor has it accepted the expert witness reports of a midwife, a psychologist and a rape crisis counsellor.

I have known Leonie for over two and a half years. She is a devout Christian and a woman of deep integrity. There is no reason why she should invent a story which is, in practice, so self-denigratory and so harsh as a history for her daughter. She has been entirely consistent in her account since I have known her and I believe her entirely.

Leonie wanted to leave Cameroon because, after her father died, other members of her family took her father's properties by violence. Recently her mother has been killed by these family members. Leonie only learned her mother's death when a friend saw an article in a local newspaper.

She is terrified about being sent back to Cameroon - because her family will find her and are likely to attack her too, because she is a single mother, because she has a visibly mixed-race child who has no father.

Theresa May, MP, Home Secretary
With the help of specialist counsellors Leonie is beginning to recover from her ordeal and to build a life for herself and her daughter, Stacey. Leonie is able, hard working, honest and purposeful. She would like to be a pharmacist and would only be an asset to this country. Her daughter is a delightful and intelligent two-year old.

But now Leonie has been told she will not get humanitarian protection in the UK. She must go back to Cameroon. All legal routes have failed not least because each one has built on the judgement of the first hearing that Leonie was not credible - and by the nature of things there is no way to get evidence of when she arrived in the UK or of her abuse when she got here.

The Home Secretary has the discretionary power to allow a person to stay. That is now what we are asking for.

Would you help? There is more information in these letters below and we are hoping for local media coverage this weekend. If you email me at work I would be happy to address any further questions you may have.

If you can, please sign and send these letters, and ask people to sign the petition and send it to the Home Secretary:

It would also help if you let us know the actions you've taken.

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