A DAD is going on trial today accused of murdering his baby son, Zakari William Bennett-Eko, who died after being found in the River Irwell at Radcliffe.

In a Nightingale Court at the Lowry threatre in Salford Zak Bennett-Eko appeared via a video link.

Wearing a black and grey gillet, Bennett-Eko, aged 23, of no fixed address, sat and answered "not guilty" when the charge was put to him.

The trial, presided over by Mr Justice Fraser, is due to begin this afternoon with a jury sworn in and given instructions by the judge.

Proceedings, being held in a theatre at the Lowry, which is being used as a temporary court to help ease a backlog of cases, are expected to last up to two weeks.

Zakari, aged 11 months,  died after he was recovered from the  near Blackburn Bridge, Radcliffe at 4.25pm on September 11 last year. 

He died despite the best efforts of paramedics and doctors.

The baby's death shocked members of the community, who paid tribute and laid hundreds of tributes at the bridge and his devestated mother, Emma Blood, described Zakari as "a cheeky little chappie with a smile that melted hearts."