The mother of a 12-month-old boy who died when he was thrown off a bridge into a river in his Moses basket has told of her heartbreak and said: ‘I lost my baby today.’
Emma Blood, 22, has posted an emotional statement on Facebook this morning after her son Zakari plunged to his death into the River Irwell, in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester.
The baby’s father, named locally as Zak Bennett-Eko, 22, was arrested by police as he sat with customers in the nearby Lock Keeper pub. It is believed he had taken his son out to buy milk.
He wandered into the pub moments after the boy fell into the water and ordered a drink, and sat there and ‘stared’ according to witnesses. He is in custody and is being quizzed by police.
Paramedics battled to save the boy after he was pulled from the water by firefighters, some 100 yards from the bridge. He was taken to hospital but pronounced dead a short time later.
Ms Blood wrote today: ‘I lost my baby today. I love my little boy and did everything for him.
‘I didn’t know my child was dead until I got to A&E. We sat with him for hours, we held him, we kissed him and then I left.
‘Let me grieve for my child, my whole world and so much more. I am alive, although I wish I was dead.’
In her statement Ms Blood wrote: ‘I didn’t know my child was dead until I got to A&E. We sat with him for hours, we held him, we kissed him and then I left’
The alleged killer, named locally as Zak Bennett-Eko was seen by witnesses entering the pub and trying to buy a drink. He is in custody and is being quizzed by police
Emma Blood (pictured in hospital with her son) has posted an emotional statement on Facebook this morning after the death of her son Zakari, and wrote: ‘I love my little boy and did everything for him’
An photogrpah posted on Bennett-Eko’s Facebook page. It is captioned: ‘My little big man’
Ms Blood announced her pregnancy in February 2018, where she wrote on Facebook: ‘I honestly can not hold back anymore, we are over the moon that we are expecting a baby.’
After her first scan she wrote: ‘Today we seen our little baba who has a very strong heartbeat, healthy and is perfect in every single way.
‘Mummy & Daddy love you always our little cherub.
‘The past ten weeks have flown by it won’t be long until we meet you in person.’
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In a selfie in hospital with her new son in October last year she wrote: ‘He’s just so perfect and so good. He was worth every bit of pain. We love you Zakari.’
Yesterday a barmaid working at the Lock Keeper told how a man came in and asked to buy a drink, but had no money.
She said: ‘Then loads of people came in screaming that there’s a baby in the river.
‘He sat there and stared, he didn’t move so the police were phoned and he just told a customer that he’d thrown his baby in the river.
‘Everyone was up barring him, he sat there and stared and didn’t move.
‘The police were phoned to say ‘we think we have who you’re looking for”
Zak Bennett-Eko has been named locally as the 22-year-old man arrested at the scene
Paramedics battled to save the boy after he was pulled from the water, some 100 yards from the bridge (pictured)
Police outside a house in a nearby residential street
Floral tributes have been left at the scene today on the bridge over the River Irwell
Two teddy bears have been left on the bridge, next to two candles
A police officer mans a cordon near the bridge were the baby was allegedly thrown into the water
Another witness told the Manchester Evening News: ‘It was a very small child in the river, I thought it was a doll when I saw it.
‘I thought someone was on the run.’
Another resident posted on social media: ‘I was there 30 mins ago and everybody there was crying and saying a man has thrown his newborn in.’
Police have now launched a murder investigation and a residential road near the scene has been cordoned off by police.
Dozens of floral tributes have been left at the scene this morning on the bridge. One card read: ‘RIP little man. Hope you find happiness with your angel wings.’
Anastasia Ward, who lives next to the bridge said: ‘I saw the mum walk past with the baby around 4pm.
‘At about 4.25pm there were helicopters, more police than I’ve ever seen and crowds of people on the bridge.’
A taxi driver who has lived on the street next to wherever the death took place said: ‘I have never seen anything like it. Everyone is going mad around here..
The 57-year-old added: ‘He was a quiet lad but as a couple they didn’t get on.’
Another nearby neighbour, who did not wish to be named. ‘We looked out of the bedroom window and saw the cordons, that was about 5pm yesterday.
A barmaid working at the pub (pictured) said: ‘He came in and asked for a drink but said he had no money’
A 22-year-old man has been arrested for murder after throwing a 12-month-old boy off a bridge and to his death
The man, believed to be the father, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and police say investigations are underway
‘It is just mad, there are no words to be spoken. ‘We don’t know the full situation.’
Detective Superintendent Jamie Daniels from Greater Manchester Police said: ‘This is an incredibly tragic incident that has led to an innocent baby boy losing his life.
‘We are doing everything we can to support his family at this unimaginably devastating time.
‘I know his loss will be felt by the entire community and our thoughts are very much with his loved ones this evening.
‘A murder investigation is underway and we are working hard to piece together the circumstances that led to the baby boy ending up in the water.’
A barmaid working at the pub said: ‘He came in and asked for a drink but said he had no money.
Greater Manchester Police said it was called to the scene shortly before 4.25pm on Wednesday
The boy was thrown off the Blackburn Street bridge and into the River Irwell in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester
The boy was given first aid at the scene before being rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead
Greater Manchester Police still had the area cordoned off as of 9.55pm
Members of the Radcliffe community have responded on social media, expressing their shock at the incident.
One user commented: ‘Totally horrific beyond comprehension. Worked in Radcliffe, know the area but this is just so utterly horrible.’
Another said: ‘Heartbreaking how this can ever be explained as a domestic incident is beyond me. Rest in peace little man.’
A social media user said on Facebook that a candlelight vigil was being prepared to take place tomorrow at the bridge where the incident occurred.
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