January 22, 2021

Dad pleads not guilty to murdering his 11-month-old baby son Zakari Bennett-Eko found in River Irwell – Manchester Evening News


A father has denied murdering his baby son ahead of a trial set to begin this week.

Zakari William Bennett-Eko, aged 11 months, died after being found in the River Irwell in Radcliffe following an incident on September 11 last year.

His dad, Zak Bennett-Eko, aged 23, appeared at the temporary Nightingale court at Salford’s Lowry Theatre this morning (Monday) via video link and spoke only to confirm his identity and plead ‘not guilty’ to a charge of murder.

His trial is due to start this afternoon and is expected to last up to two weeks.

It will begin with an opening statement from prosecutor Rob Hall, who will lay out the facts of the case.

Baby Zakari was found in the river near a bridge on Blackburn Street, Radcliffe, after a search last year.

He was retrieved from the water and taken to hospital but he died later despite treatment.

His death led to an outpouring of sadness from friends and neighbours who left piles of flowers, cards and other tributes in the centre of Radcliffe.

Among the tributes was a large cuddly bear with a card that read: “To a beautiful little boy. Sleep tight little man. Our thoughts are with your family. From all of us at Lidl Radcliffe.”

One card with flowers read: “Goodnight and God Bless beautiful innocent boy. Fly high Angel.”

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