Grandfather Dies in Baptism in Front of Oblivious Onlookers (Video)

Video has emerged showing the moment a grandfather died in a paddling pool baptism while the pastor and congregation seemingly fail to notice.

Robert Smith’s body could be seen floating face down in the water for at least five minutes in footage taken in the garden. 

The clip shows the 61-year-old Parkinsons sufferer floating beneath the surface of the water as Christian minister Cheryl Reid-Bartley continues to pray and chant.

A congregation of at least 12 watch on with no one appearing to see Smith slip under the surface and go still during the ceremony, which took place earlier this month. 

The baptism was filmed in the back garden of a private address in Erdington, Birmingham, UK by Life Changing Ministries and streamed live on the church’s Facebook page although the feed was cut-short and the post later removed.

A shorter clip, released last week showed Smith, dressed all in white, visibly shaking as he was led into the pool by Reid-Bartley, who stroked his back and spoke to him before dipping him under the water. Those watching banged tambourines and sang.

However, MailOnline has obtained the full recording which shows Smith moments later floating on his side and face down in the pool.

He appears to have struggled for two minutes to keep his head above the surface but then slipped under the water where he remained for at least four minutes and 50 seconds.

Before the recording finished, onlookers were seen crowded around the pool, just feet away from Smith, but none of them seemed to see the tragedy unfolding.

A younger man who was being baptised at the same time was lifted up out of the water by Reid-Bartley who told him: ‘After today, you have to bear witness to what you have seen… the Lord says you can’t keep silent.’

As she said those words, she looked over to Smith whose body was completely submerged in two-and-a-half feet of water and not moving.

The livestream was then halted.


Emergency services were called to the address shortly after 1.30 p.m. on Sunday October 8 and Smith was given ‘advanced life support’ but pronounced dead at the scene.

Originally from Jamaica, Smith had seven grandchildren – with another on the way – and had been in the UK for at least 25 years, settling in Brixton, south London, where he worked as a barber.

Life Changing Ministries is an apostolistic church founded by Cheryl Reid-Bartley who serves as its Elder. 

Apostolistic churches continue the teachings and missions of the apostles, who Jesus was said to have founded the church with. 

Bartley-Reid has previously advertised preaching trips to Trinidad and Tobago on her social media channels. 

She has also hosted  ‘All White Parties’ where attendees dance with ‘the holy spirit of God.’

He had already been baptized when he was a teenager but wanted a second ceremony to become a ‘born-again believer’.

A friend told MailOnline: ‘Robert was an amazing man, someone you could always confide in.

‘He had family dotted all over Jamaica, the UK and the USA. His relatives warned him not to get baptized for a second time, as he was 61 years old and suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

‘But he had become involved with the Life Changing Ministries and wanted to be a born-again believer, so much so that he traveled to Birmingham all the way from his home in south London for the ceremony.

‘Some of his relatives and friends were watching what was happening on Facebook. It’s unbelievable that nobody out of the 14-or so people who were there seemed to notice him going under the water and remaining there for so long.’

MailOnline has spoken to relatives in Jamaica but they have declined to comment until the police investigation has finished, although one said briefly: ‘I’m praying the police conduct a thorough investigation into what happened because we need answers.’

Following Smith’s death, Reid-Bartley posted a near hour-long message on to the Life Changing Ministries Facebook group last week in which she said she spoke with him ‘in heaven’ after he had ‘passed’.

She said: ‘I didn’t know the plans that God made. This man wanted to secure his place in heaven. Him and the Lord had a conversation.

‘I went up to my room to change out of my wet clothes. And Jesus came to me and sat with me. He didn’t even say anything. I was taken to heaven instantly to see Robert Yap. This has never happened to me, yet, that somebody just passed on. He’s young, he’s dancing with Jesus in the garden.’

Reid-Bartley claimed that Smith had caught a ‘glimpse of heaven’ and ‘didn’t want to come back, he just passed on’.

West Midlands Ambulance Service sent two vehicles, a paramedic officer, and a critical care car from Midlands Air Ambulance, but despite their best efforts they could not revive him.

A spokesman said: ‘A post-mortem examination will be carried out in due course to establish the cause of the man’s death, while detectives carry out inquiries into the circumstances surrounding his death.

‘A 46-year-old woman who was arrested in Birmingham yesterday has been released on police bail while enquiries continue.’

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