HUGH CHRISTOPHER MUNDELL was laid to rest on Sunday, October 30, 1983 at the Dovecot Memorial Park in Montego Bay. Services were held at the Dovecot Chapel. Hugh left behind a grieving father, mother, three sisters, a brother, two children, and countless fans around the globe. Upon his death, Africa was still not free and wouldn’t be free for another eleven years. On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl, South Africa. In 1992 a whites-only referendum approved F.W. de Clerk’s apartheid reform process. On April 27, 1994 the first democratic elections were held in South Africa, with people of all races being able to vote. Nelson Mandela won the presidency, garnering 62.5% of the popular vote as the African National Congress candidate.
On Friday, November 22, 1985, Mr. Justice Downer sentenced 25-year old Ricardo Codrington, labourer of Above Rocks, St. Andrew, to ten years imprisonment at hard labour for the murder of Hugh Mundell. The sentencing occurred after a Home Circuit Court found Codrigan guilty of manslaughter arising out of the fatal shooting of Mundell on October 13, 1983.
Mr. Norman Davis, Counsel for the Crown, alleged that on October 13, 1983, Mundell was driving along Grants Pen Avenue when Codrington beckoned him to stop. Mundell stopped and Codrington accused him of locking up his brother for stealing things from Mundell’s home. Codrington told Mundell that he was not going to leave until his brother was set free. Mundell told Codrington that when he got back his things his brother could go free. Codrington reached for his waist and then an explosion was heard. Mundell died on the spot from a gunshot wound to the head.
In his defense, Codrington asserted that he had stolen Mundell’s girlfriend and Mundell and Junior Reid had come to his home to beat him up. He saw Mundell on the day of the incident and Mundell called him a thief and said he was going to put him in prison just like his brother. According to Codrington, Mundell turned to Reid, who was sitting in the back seat of his car, and said “Bite him star.” Codrington said he was afraid when Mundell said those words and he grabbed for his gun but he did not know how it went off. He said that on that day he was going for a parcel from a friend who had returned from the U.S. Codrington told the court that he was not the gunman.
Codrington was charged with murder, but the jury convicted him of the lesser offense. The Judge said Codrington had already served two years and that was taken into account when sentencing him.
There are many who made this piece possible, and to them I give thanks. Many thanks to Roger Steffens for sharing his Hugh Mundell archives with me and for the time he spent reviewing, editing, and vetting the story. He is truly one of a kind. Big thanks to my good friend Jerry Stein, the man who brilliantly captured Pablo and Mundell on film at Pablo’s home in Port Maria, for sharing many of his experiences with me along with several rare Mundell and Pablo photographs. A true heavyweight in the reggae arena. Also, big up to Steve Barrow and Sir David Rodigan for stepping forward to comment and lend assistance with the telling of this important story. Both men have dedicated their lives to this music. Big up MakaSound Records for their amazing ‘Blessed Youth’ double-LP Mundell compilation and excellent liner notes. Nuff respect to Jayman and Andrew at www.whocorkthedance.com for the crucial sound system audio. Thanks to my friends Andrea Mundell, Ton and Peter van Arnhem, Glen Lockley, Doug Wendt, Joe Jurgenson, Fred, Dubwise Garage, Dermot Hussey, Doctor Dread, Randall Grass, and Inyaki at Basque Dub Foundation for their assistance and continued support.