NEWS: Stockland Green church asks members to pray and fast for ‘apostle’ after manslaughter arrest following death of a man in his 60s

Words by Erdington Local editorial team

A Stockland Green church where a man reportedly died during a baptism has cancelled meetings and events this week – whilst asking members to pray and fast for the ‘apostle’ at the centre of ongoing manslaughter investigations.

Life Changing Ministries, Slade Road, has become the focus of international attention after a man in his 60s died in a small outside pool at the address on Sunday 8 October.

It is reported a baptism was taking place and was being live streamed on the group’s Facebook page – with a picture being widely shared online following the incident.

West Midlands Ambulance Service attended the scene and tried to save the man, named on the church’s Facebook page as Robert Yap.

West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed: “We were called at 1.42pm on Sunday to a medical emergency at a private address on Slade Road in Stockland Green, Birmingham. Two ambulances, a paramedic officer and a critical care car from Midland Air Ambulance attended the scene. Upon arrival we found a man.

“Ambulance staff administered advanced life support to him but unfortunately, despite the best efforts of ambulance staff it became clear that nothing more could be done to save him and he was confirmed deceased at the scene.”

The story made headlines across the world this week, being picked up by media outlets across the UK and several Christian websites in America and Africa.

But whilst police investigate the tragedy, several posts have appeared on the Life Changing Ministries Facebook page inviting members to join in three ‘Powerful Days of Prayer and Fasting’, running from Tuesday 10 to Thursday 12 October.

A post made on Tuesday 10 October further stated: “URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT!! APOSTLE CHERYL REID – BARTLEY IS URGING ALL MEMBERS TO JOIN WITH HER IN THESE THREE (3) DAYS OF INTENSE AND DEEP WARFARE, PRAYER AND FAST FOR THE MINISTRY, FOR APOSTLE (HERSELF) AND FOR OUR FAITHFUL MEMBERS!!!”

Other posts made by the church’s Facebook administrators include a near hour long message to camera made by Ms Reid-Bartley, under the heading: ‘Our Beloved Brother, Robert Yap of Life Changing Ministries, Birmingham, England has went Home to be with the Lord.’

The post also quotes 2 Corinthians 5:8 (King James Version): ‘We are confident I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.’

Following the social media messages, Life Changing Ministries received several messages of support from members of the church.

Markita Davis Humphrey posted in the comments section: “Always lifting up LCM and Apostle Cheryl and LCM sons and daughters and our families.”

Keisha Riley added: “We will continue to fast and pray Apostle, we’re in this together, we appreciate and love you.”

However, other people criticised the lack of prayers for the man who died.

Donna Francis said: “…none of this people praying for the family of this man what died, all u on praying for the apostle who went to heaven and come back because she did not like up there, and leave the man because he like what he see madness all you stop it this man family is grieving.”

Whilst Mai VaDhikondo posted: “Well life changed really quickly for the apostle, I wonder if she saw this one in her many revelations. Pray for the man who died please!”

Hannah George added: “Who’s praying for the family of the man who died if u don’t mind me asking.”

Following the initial response from emergency services on Sunday 8 October, West Midlands Police were notified about the tragedy and officers and have arrested a woman in connection with the death.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police confirmed: “A woman has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a man in his 60s died in Erdington on Sunday.

“A post mortem examination will be carried out in due course to establish the cause of the man’s death, while detectives carry out enquiries into the circumstances surrounding his death.

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

The case continues.

NEWS: “The Justice for Dea John Reid campaign has a lot of work to do,” as teenager guilty of killing is sentenced to six and a half years

Words by Ed King

The teenager convicted of killing 14 year old Dea John Reid in Kingstandng last year has been sentenced to six year and a half years, with an order to serve half of it in a juvenile detention centre.

Dea John Reid was fatally stabbed on Collage Road on 31 May 2021, with two adults and three minors arrested and charged with his murder. In a shock verdict in March 2022, all were acquitted or murder – with the charge against the boy who delivered the fatal blow dropped to manslaughter.

In UK courts, manslaughter can carry a jail term of up to 24 years for adults – with sentencing guidelines cutting that in half for minors.

At the sentence hearing on Friday 6 May, for the prosecution Richard Wormald QC argued how the court has “clearly rejected his (the minor guilty of manslaughter) defence of self defence,” and the killing had been “motivated by revenge… after an orchestrated chase”.

He added the killing was especially “shocking” as it “took place in broad daylight” in a busy residential area and in front of numerous members of the public.

Speaking for the defence, Tim Clarke QC mitigated how the “negative influence” from the adults who had been previous charged with murder was a significant factor and “the motivation they had and the words they used” were not the same as his client’s.

Throughout the case, extensive CCTV footage had clearly shown racist language being used towards Dea John and his group of friends by some of those accused, although not by the young person now guilty of manslaughter.Mr Clarke QC added, there was a “public duty to reach the right sentence, not the one that will bring comfort” to those hurt and affected by the case.

Presiding over the case, Mr Justice Johnson told the juvenile “You killed Dea John Reid. You had armed yourself with a knife. He stood no chance; he was unarmed he was no threat to you.

“You have taken the kitchen knife to the scene, along with the balaclava and gloves – you had planned to commit some form of offence. It involved others but you look a leading role.

“The CCTV shows there was a concerted chase of DJ which was led by you.

“I can only impose a custodial sentence when no other avenue is appropriate. I do not think you are a significant risk to the public, but you took Dea John’s life – the offence is so serious I have to impose a custodial sentence.”

Dea John’s family were present in the courtroom as the sentencing was handed out and were permitted to address the court with a statement from Dea John’s mother, Joan Morris.

Read by Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, who had been counselling the family since the killing and throughout the trial, the personal message told how the family had “put our faith in the justice system” and felt “let down” by the previous acquittals.

Following the sentencing, which will see the teenager who killed Dea John spend only another three years in a detention centre, Bishop Jaddoo addressed a crowd outside the court, stating how the trial “tells us how this system is not gear up to give black people justice”.

He told how Dea John had been “chased by a lynch mob and knifed to death” and how “this does say that this great city Birmingham, that does say black lives matter… black lives just do not matter.”

Closing his remarks, on behalf of Dea John’s family, Bishop Jaddoo added: “Dea John’s death must not be in vain and trust me it will not be.

“The Justice for Dea John Reid campaign has a lot of work to do.”

Bishop Desmond Jaddoo outside Birmingham Crown Court – Friday 6 May