Inquest into death of baby thrown into River Irwell to look into dad’s treatment beforehand

An inquest into the death of an 11-month-old baby who was thrown into the River Irwell will look into the treatment his father received beforehand.

Zakari William Bennett-Eko died after his dad hurled him into the river, in Radcliffe, on September 11, 2019. 

Zak Bennett-Eko was later found guilty of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, after it was found he was having a major psychotic episode at the time.

He was sentenced to a hospital order confining him to a secure psychiatric unit – from which he ‘may never be released’.

At a preliminary hearing today, senior coroner Joanne Kearsley revealed that the inquest would look at the treatment Zakari’s dad received from various agencies after his release from being sectioned.

Zak Bennett-Eko was sectioned in 2014 after suffering from cannabis-induced psychosis. He was discharged in 2016 and put on a community treatment order for six months.

That then ceased and the hearing was told that a number of services had involvement with Zak.

Among the agencies represented at today’s hearing were Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust, Manchester City Council, North Manchester General Hospital, Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group and Bury Council.

Ms Kearsley said the inquest would look into Zak Bennett Eko’s care plan after the community treatment order ended and how agencies responded to his ‘medical and social needs’ following his release.

The inquest will also focus on the prescribing and monitoring of Bennett-Eko’s medication in the two years prior to his son’s death.

He was signed up to a GP practice in Fallowfield until 2018, although it is not yet clear who his GP was following that or which pharmacy he collected his prescription from.

The hearing was also told that Zak attended North Manchester General Hospital’s A&E department on six occasions in the five months prior to throwing his son in the river.

Four of the visits came in the fortnight prior to Zakari’s death – the last of which was three days beforehand.

Ms Kearsley requested statements from the healthcare staff who interacted with Mr Bennett-Eko while he was at hospital as well as from Greater Manchester Police, summarising their involvement with him.

She said the facility where Zak was confined had been contacted, but he was ‘not well enough and does not wish to engage’ with the inquest proceedings.

A further preliminary hearing will take place next month.

Full story here

Source: Manchester Evening News, 21st October 2021

Published by CHARM Greater Manchester

CHARM, the Community for Holistic, Accessible, Rights Based Mental Health was launched by The Organic Recovery Learning Community in September 2020.

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