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Hero police officer, 24, jumped into river to try and save drowning baby ‘thrown to death by dad’

RIVER PLUNGE

A HERO police officer jumped into a river to try and save a drowning baby allegedly thrown from a bridge by his dad.

Baby Zakari Bennett-Eko, who was 11 months old, was allegedly thrown into the River Irwell in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, in a Moses basket on Wednesday afternoon.

He was rushed to hospital from the scene but died a short time later.

The boy's dad, Zak Eko, 22, appeared in court today charged with murder.

It was revealed today that brave police officer Jessica Voiels jumped into river to try to save Zakari.

PC Voiels, 24, took to Twitter to describe her dramatic rescue attempt.

She wrote: "Had my worst shift yesterday. I can't see many things being as bad as that in the future".

Her mum Julie McCormick told the MailOnline: "She jumped into the river to try to save the baby. It is awful.

"Her Sergeant sent her a text saying not many people go through that in a lifetime.

"People have been texting her saying that they hope she is OK. They are so proud of her and she has handled it really well".

The cop is thought to have been on patrol when an emergency call was made about a body in a river.

MUM'S TRIBUTE

Zakari’s devastated mum, Emma Blood, today issued a tribute to her son.

She said: "On Wednesday afternoon my life changed forever.

"I woke up that morning being a mummy to the most wonderful cute little boy and by the afternoon Zakari was taken from me in the most tragic of circumstances.

"Zakari was my life for 11 months and will be the heart of our family for many years to come.

"He was a cheeky little chappie with a smile that melted hearts. He was the youngest of five generations of our family and was loved beyond belief.

"Zakari wrapped everyone around his little finger. He was a happy and content baby with a gorgeous little smile and a head full of curls. Everyone that met him fell in love with him instantly.

"It's hard to comprehend what has happened and that I will not get to see my baby grow up to be the handsome decent man I knew he would become.

"My family and I would like to thank everybody for their continued support, it is very much appreciated and would like to ask for privacy at this traumatic time."

The boy's dad was arrested inside the Lock Keeper pub in Radcliffe at around 4.30pm on Wednesday.

Eko, 22, appeared at Manchester Magistrates' Court today in a hearing lasting less than one minute.

He was flanked by prison officers as he entered the dock and only spoke to confirm his name and his date of birth.

He was remanded in custody to appear at Manchester Crown Court on September 16.

Tearful mourners, many who were mothers with young children, have left flowers, soft toys and candles on the bridge in Blackburn Street.

Meanwhile a JustGiving page set up to raise money for the baby’s has raised more than £4,000 so far.


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