Video shows chilling moment dad is arrested in pub after throwing baby in river

News

Chilling bodycam footage shows the moment a dad admitted throwing his baby son in a river.

Zak Bennett-Eko was arrested at the scene after his 11-month-old son Zakari was flung over a fence into the River Irwell in Bury.

The little boy tragically died despite heroic efforts to save him.

Jurors in Manchester heard the 22-year-old dad – who had a long history of mental illness – believed the infant was “the devil”.

The video, which was shown to jurors in the trial, shows Bennett-Eko just after 4pm on September 11, 2019.

Minutes earlier, the killer – who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia – was seen “swinging his son from side to side” before throwing the child over a five-foot-high fence and into the fast-flowing water.

A bystander bravely went into the water in a bid to rescue Zakari, but the child was gone.

He was later found, before he tragically died in hospital.

The trial heard that following the incident, Bennett-Eko walked into the nearby Lock Keeper pub, where he told punters what had happened.

Officers walked into the pub and found Bennett-Eko, looking dazed, sitting at table near the door.

One asked him “if something has gone into the water today”, and “was it a baby?”.

Bennett-Eko confirms what cops have heard from horrified witnesses.

The bodycam footage begins at this point.

As Bennett-Eko is handcuffed, an officer says: “At this moment in time, you’re under arrest on suspicion of attempted murder.”

“Yeah, course, course. Yeah,” he responds.

“You don’t have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something you later rely on in court,” the officer says.

“Yeah I know. Yeah, of course, course. I’m not starting, I promise you, I promise you, I’m not starting,” continues Bennett-Eko.

Looking up at the officer from his seat, the dad is asked what the baby’s name is.

“Zakari,” he replies.

“What’s your name?,” asks the officer.

“Zak,” says Bennett-Eko.

“What’s happened then?,” continues the officer.

“I threw him in the river,” Bennett-Eko replies.

“At this bridge up here?,” asks the officer.

“Yeah, I did. I’m not starting, I promise you,” says Bennett-Eko.

Bennett-Eko carries on answering the officer’s questions, calmly and quietly.

In the background, police can be heard saying they are searching a weir close to the site of the incident. That was where Zakari was eventually found.

“Anything relating to the baby?,” says the officer.

“I don’t know what you mean, sorry,” says the dad, apologetically.

“A pram or anything like that anywhere?,” the cop asks.

“Yeah [inaudible]. I done it,” Bennett-Eko responds.

“Have you got anything in your pockets or anything?”

“No, you can search me, you can search me.”

Zakari was found an hour later near a bridge on Blackburn Street.

He was taken to hospital, where he tragically later died.

It was at hospital, “willing her child to live”, that Zakari’s mum, Emma Blood, learned of the nightmare that had unfolded.

Judge Mr Justice Fraser told The Lowry Nightingale court: “The first Emma knew of any of this was when the police called at her house and explained to her what had happened.

“By 7.30pm that evening, she found herself identifying the body of her small son at the hospital. He had died through a combination of drowning and hypothermia.”

Some hours later, bodycam footage was captured of Bennett-Eko sat in a cell the moment he was told Zakari had died.

An officer asks if Bennett-Eko is okay. The dad gives two thumbs up, uttering “yeah”.

That footage has not yet been released following the trial.

The videos were played to jurors during the trial over baby Zakari’s tragic death.

Bennett-Eko, now 23, faces years in a secure psychiatric unit after being unanimously found guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

The court heard he may never be released. The judge “unhesitatingly” concluded Bennett-Eko was dangerous.

Jurors heard Bennett-Eko told doctors he “believed his son was the devil and that he was being told to drown him”.

He had spiralled into a severe state of psychosis in previous months, the court heard.

In an emotional statement read to the judge and jury, Zakari’s mother Ms Blood told of the heartbroken family’s ‘little man’, taken from them in such horrific circumstances.

“He was dearly loved,” she said.

“He was my first baby. He was bright, bubbly, and very mischievous. He soon figure out he could do cheeky things to get a giggle out of me.

“His little laugh was infections. I was so proud watching his personality develop. I would tell him that his mummy loved him every day. I can’t quite come to terms with the fact I can no longer do that in person.

“I can only hope that over time, the man responsible will understand the unimaginable pain he has caused.”