A DAD killed his baby boy by throwing him into a river because he thought he was “turning into the devil”, a court has heard.
Zak Bennett-Eko, 23, threw 11-month-old Zakari Bennett-Eko into the River Irwell in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, in September last year.
Zak Bennett-Eko, 23, hurled his 11-month-old baby to his death into a freezing cold river, a court heard[/caption]
Little Zakari Bennett-Eko was rescued from the River Irwell in Greater Manchester on September 11 last year but was pronounced dead in hospital[/caption]
A court heard the defendant was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when his son drowned and died.
It was heard that on the day of the killing, Bennett-Eko had argued with his partner Emma Blood, who was eight months pregnant.
She told him he needed to start looking after himself because she would not be able to care for two babies and him, the court heard.
Rob Hall, prosecuting, said: “It may be that exchange set the seed in Zak’s mind that they would be better off without Zakari.”
Mr Hall went on to tell the court Bennett-Eko saw Zakari’s legs “expanding” and that he thought he was “turning into the devil”.
On the day of the tragedy on September 11, 2019, 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 told Bennett-Eko later said he passed two women with “eyes like the devil” and that they wanted him to drown his son.
Mr Hall said the defendant was seen by two teenagers taking his son out of his pushchair, swinging him from side to side and then throwing him into the river below.
One second he’s OK, the next minute he’s going mad saying he’s going to kill himself.”
He then walked to a nearby pub where he was later arrested after telling another customer what he had done, Mr Hall said.
Zakari was rescued from the river by emergency services at about 5.15pm after the alarm was raised by a number of members of the public.
He was pronounced dead at the Royal Bolton Hospital that evening, the jury was told.
The court heard the defendant had suffered from mental health problems throughout his life and at 17 was sectioned and diagnosed with psychosis related to cannabis use.
He began a relationship with Miss Blood in 2016 and in October 2018 Zakari, their first son, was born.
‘NOT OUR BABY’
Mr Hall said, following Zakari’s birth, the couple argued and Bennett-Eko began to miss GP appointments and started to consume cannabis again.
The court heard Miss Blood sent text messages to friends in September last year expressing concerns about his behaviour.
In one, she said: “He’s saying Zakari isn’t our baby and stuff.
“One second he’s OK, the next minute he’s going mad saying he’s going to kill himself.”
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In other messages, Miss Blood, 23, said Bennett-Eko had kicked her door in, thrown things at her and claimed popstar Beyonce was his mother.
The prosecution case is that he is guilty of manslaughter by diminished responsibility, while the defence argue he is not guilty by reason of insanity.
The trial, being held at a Nightingale court sitting at the Lowry theatre in Salford, is expected to last five to seven days.