Manchester

Zakari Bennett: River death baby's dad arrested over murder

Zakari Bennett Image copyright FAMILY HANDOUT
Image caption Zakari Bennett died after being pulled out of the River Irwell in Radcliffe

A baby boy who died after being pulled out of a river in Greater Manchester has been named locally as Zakari Bennett.

Zakari, believed to have been 11 months old, was lifted from the River Irwell in Radcliffe, Bury, just before 16:30 BST on Wednesday but died in hospital.

The boy's father Zak Bennett-Eko, 22, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

The child's mother said her son was the "whole world and so much more".

An emotional post made earlier on her Facebook account shared her shock and grief following his death.

Greater Manchester Police said it was not clear at this stage how the boy came to be in the water but unconfirmed reports suggest he was thrown from a bridge.

The force urged "a significant number of witnesses" to come forward, particularly those with photos or videos.

"We know that some of the incident was captured in images or on video so I want to ask people to provide these to the investigation team," said Det Insp Wes Knights.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption People have been leaving floral tributes at the scene

Police confirmed the baby had been in the area "for a number of hours beforehand" and witnesses "may have information about the circumstances leading up to the incident".

Det Insp Knights added it was "incredibly tragic" and thanked those people "who tried their best to help retrieve the baby from the river".

"His family have understandably been left devastated by what has happened," he added.

A post-mortem examination will take place on Friday.

A cordon is still in place on Blackburn Street, at the junctions with Stand Lane and Radcliffe New Road, while investigations continue.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption A post-mortem examination is due to take place on Friday

Enzo Cabuderra, who works at Italia Mia restaurant in neighbouring Stand Lane, said he arrived to find police and ambulance staff at the scene.

"I've got grandkids myself and to think that someone could do something like this…it's just shocking," he said.

A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said crews "rescued one casualty who was then handed over to North West Ambulance Service".

Image caption Police said they were "working hard to piece together the circumstances that led to the baby boy ending up in the water"

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