A Jamaican cult leader whose followers killed two people in a ‘human sacrifice’ ritual has died in a police car crash while being taken to court to be charged.
Kevin Smith, 39, was killed alongside a police officer when the car taking him from Montego Bay to Kingston crashed on Monday.
Smith was arrested last week over an alleged human sacrifice ritual which left two people dead and three more injured and was waiting to be formally charged.
The cult leader allegedly oversaw congregants slash the throat of a woman, kill another person, and stab at least three more as part of the ritual at Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries on October 17.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash but pictures showed an apparently lifeless Smith being stretchered away from the scene.
Two police officers involved in the crash were left in a critical condition while Smith and a third cop were killed.
Smith was on his way to court in Kingston where he was set to be formally charged over the deaths of two people during an alleged human sacrifice ritual during a three-day convention on October 17.
The preacher had told the congregation there would be a ‘great flood’ and asked his followers to gather at the church and leave their phones wrapped in tin foil at home.
At the church the attendees dressed in white robes, were allegedly instructed to take part in a bloodletting ritual which involved people getting ‘stabbed’ and ‘slashed’, witnesses told local media.
‘I was outside waiting to go in… when I saw the lady’s throat being slashed,’ a woman who did not want to be named told the Jamaica Observer.
‘It was very intense. When I saw blood and the young lady fell, I said ‘This is it for me,’ and I walked away; I could not stay, I couldn’t.’
Witnesses said it was ‘normal’ for the cult leader to tell congregants to leave their phones at home but at least one follower managed to smuggle their device into the church and used it to phone for help.
Police attended the scene and stormed the building, killing one person in an exchange of gunfire and taking 41 members of the congregation into custody.
A further three people were injured during the ritual and were taken to hospital.
The victim who had her throat slashed was named locally as Tanecka Gardner, though this was not confirmed by police.
A source close to the investigation told The Sun: ‘Then a man was ordered to strip naked and died in the same way to get the ‘impure’ blood out of his body.
‘The ritual was said to have been overseen by Smith and an off-duty policewoman, who was a follower.’
Officers said there were more victims, including naked men and animals, were lined up for the ritual when they arrived.
At least 14 minors were found at the scene and taken into custody. There were later allegations of abuse against the boys, police said.
The source added: ‘There is huge concern that influential people – including other local police officials – were involved and that this may have happened before and gone unreported.
‘The entire congregation had been called to the church and around 50 had arrived wearing white when the killing started. Scores could have died.
‘They had done two days of fasting on Friday and Saturday and the ritual began on Sunday, with people lining up to board “the Ark” after Smith warned a great flood was coming.
‘Three more people are in hospital, one in a life-threatening condition, and more were stabbed.’
Before the ritual began on Sunday, Smith posted on Facebook: ‘The Ark is loading now! Leave immediately dressed in white.
‘I am His Excellency Dr Kevin O Smith D.Min, Crown Bishop and End Time Nabi . . . Conqueror Lion of the Tribe of the Judah King of Kings and Lord of Lord Yesus Christos, the One True and living God.’
He also told followers he was leading them on a ‘Noah’s Ark’ journey to salvation and that there would be ‘no survivors’ from the ‘Roman Catholic sacrifice’.
Local media reported Smith swindled his congregation out of up to £7,000 a week which he then used to fund his lavish lifestyle – including designer clothes and jewellery, a £5000,000 hillside mansion with a private swimming pool, and a new BMW X6.
And his followers raised more than £22,000 to cover his legal fees after his arrest last week.