A DAD has today been found guilty of killing his baby son by throwing him into a river because he thought he was "turning into the devil".

Zak Bennett-Eko, 23, hurled 11-month-old Zakari Bennett-Eko into the River Irwell in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, in September last year.

He then walked to a nearby pub as emergency crews battle to save the youngster.

The paranoid schizophrenic said he saw Zakari's legs "expanding" and thought he was "turning into the devil".

He also passed two women with "eyes like the devil" on his way to the river who wanted him to drown his son, he said.

Bennett-Eki, who was charged with murder, has today been found guilty of manslaughter by diminished responsibility after three hours of deliberation by jurors.

There were cries of "yes" from the public gallery at the Nightingale court sitting at the Lowry theatre in Salford.


During the trial, jurors heard Bennett-Eko had contacted the hospital and his doctor's surgery a number of times in the days before the horror.

The dad who was diagnosed with psychosis related to cannabis use at the age of 17, began to miss GP appointments following Zakari's birth.

In harrowing text messages, his partner Emma Blood told pals he had kicked her door in and claimed Beyonce was his mum.

In one message, 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."

On the day of the killing, Bennett-Eko had argued with Ms Blood, who was eight months pregnant at the time.

She told him he needed to start looking after himself because she would not be able to care for two babies and him.


Rob Hall, prosecuting, said: "It may be that exchange set the seed in Zak's mind that they would be better off without Zakari."

Bennett-Eko later left the family home in Radcliffe with his son in a pushchair and walked to the river.

He was seen by two teens removing his son from the pushchair, swinging him from side-to-side and then throwing him into the river below.

The dad then walked to a nearby pub where he was later arrested after telling a punter what he had done.

Little Zakari was pulled from the river at around 5.15pm but tragically died later that night in hospital.

The prosecution argued he was guilty of manslaughter by diminished responsibility, while the defence said he is not guilty by reason of insanity.

Psychiatrist Dr Inti Qurashi told the court Bennett-Eko said he hesitated before he threw Zakari into the river and thought: "What the f*** am I doing?"

But Bennett-Eko's treating clinician Dr John Crosby told the court he believed he was throwing the devil into the river at the time.

Bennett-Eko will be sentenced tomorrow morning.

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