23-year-old Zak Bennett-Eko threw 11-month-old Zakari Bennett-Eko into a river in September last year.
A 23-year-old father reportedly threw his then 11-month old baby into a river because he was convinced his little son was turning into the devil, a court has heard, according to The Sun. In September last year, Zak Bennett-Eko, 23, threw 11-month-old Zakari Bennett-Eko into the River Irwell in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester. The court heard that Zak was reportedly suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when his son drowned. On the day Zak threw his son into the river, he argued with his partner Emma Blood, who was eight months pregnant at the time. Blood allegedly told Zak that he would have to take care of him because it was impossible for her to take care of him and two kids.
Manchester Magistrates Court has remanded Zak Bennett-Eko, 22, into custody. He’s charged with the murder of 11-month-old Zakari Bennett-Eko. The baby boy was pulled from the River Irwell in Radcliffe. Mr Bennett-Eko will appear before a Crown Court next week.— Rob Smith (@robsmithitv) September 13, 2019
"It may be that exchange set the seed in Zak's mind that they would be better off without Zakari," said prosecutor Rob Hall. Hall then went on to tell the court Bennett-Eko saw Zakari's legs "expanding" and that he thought he was "turning into the devil". The incident took place on September 11, 2019, and on that tragic day, the defendant left the family home in Radcliffe with his son in a pushchair and walked to the river, the court heard. The jury was also informed that Zak came across two women with eyes like the devil and they too, wanted him to drown his son. Hall later added that two teenagers saw Zak, the defendant, taking his son out of the pushchair, swinging him from side to side before throwing him into the river below.
Police investigating the death of a baby boy, whose body was recovered from the River Irwell in Radcliffe, Bury, last night continue to question a man on suspicion of murder. Zak Bennett-Eko, 22, is the father of 11 month old Zakari Bennett. pic.twitter.com/miZseLBMX0— BBC North West (@BBCNWT) September 12, 2019
Hall added that he then walked to a pub nearby where he was arrested after telling another customer there what he had done. Zakari was rescued from the river by emergency services at about 5.15 pm after a lot of people raised alarm about the incident that had taken place. However, that evening, he was pronounced dead at the Royal Bolton Hospital, the jury heard. "Due to the inaccessibility of the river and strength of the current, it was about an hour before emergency services were able to rescue Zakari, by which time his heart had stopped and he was very cold," Hall said, according to BBC.
A man is due in court in Manchester today, charged with murdering his 11-month-old son Zakari Bennett-Eko. The child died on Wednesday after being pulled from the River #Irwell near #Bury. Zak Eko, who's 22, will appear before magistrates in #Manchester. pic.twitter.com/9BpmRHhwGE— BBC Radio Manchester (@BBCRadioManc) September 13, 2019
The court also heard that Zak had struggled with mental health problems throughout his life. At 17, he was sectioned and diagnosed with psychosis related to cannabis use. Zak and Blood started dating in 2016 and in October 2018 Zakari, their first son, was born. Hall said that following Zakari's birth, the couple argued a lot and Zak missed out on his therapy sessions. That's when he started to consume cannabis again. Blood reportedly sent text messages to friends in September last year expressing concerns about his behavior. "He's saying Zakari isn't our baby and stuff," she said in a text.
Zak Bennett-Eko has been told in court this morning that he'll go on trial next March charged with the murder of 11 month old Zakari Bennett-Eko, who died shortly after he was rescued from the River Irwell in #Radcliffe last week #HeartNews pic.twitter.com/feHnBmXJBY— North West News (@HeartNWNews) September 16, 2019
"One second he's OK, the next minute he's going mad saying he's going to kill himself." In other messages, Blood, 23, revealed that Zak had kicked her door in, thrown things at her and claimed popstar Beyonce was his mother. The prosecution states that Zak should be held accountable for manslaughter by diminished responsibility. However, the defence holds up their argument that he is not guilty by reason of insanity. The trial is being held at a Nightingale court sitting at the Lowry theatre in Salford, and it is expected to last five to seven days. As of now, the case continues.