Man quizzed over death of pensioner in riots

A 22-year-old man was being questioned by police today over the murder of a pensioner who was attacked as he tried to stamp out a fire during the London riots.

Richard Mannington Bowes, 68, died in hospital just before midnight on Thursday after he was attacked in Spring Bridge Road in Ealing, west London, on Monday.



The suspect was arrested in west London yesterday on suspicion of murder, rioting and carrying out three burglaries, Scotland Yard said.



Mr Bowes, of Haven Green, Ealing, suffered serious head injuries and was placed on a life-support machine following the attack, which took place at around 10.45pm on Monday as violence spread through the capital.



A witness said rioters attacked the pensioner when he tried to put out a fire started in a supermarket bin near the Arcadia shopping centre.



Mr Bowes's sister Anne Wilderspin, 73, from Derbyshire, who lost touch with him 30 years ago, said she was "shocked" to learn what had happened to her brother.



Speaking before his death, she told ITV News: "It was sort of unreal because you don't think anything like that happens to a relative of yours.



"I mean we've been horrified by the reports of the riots and what's been going on. It was a shock and it's still a bit unreal in a way."



Mrs Wilderspin added: "I'm very sad that we have to see him like this, but in one way I'm very pleased that we could actually make contact again. So I'm mixed."



Scotland Yard said Mr Bowes's family have been informed of his death and a post-mortem examination will be held in due course.



Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane, of the Metropolitan Police's homicide and serious crime command, said: "This was a brutal incident that resulted in the senseless killing of an innocent man.



"I still need the assistance of the community who may have witnessed the attack on Richard to come forward and provide information or images they may have recorded on mobile devices. This information could be crucial in catching his killer."



Ealing Council said it flew the Union Flag over its town hall at half-mast yesterday as a mark of respect for Mr Bowes.



It is also launching an appeal to help all victims of the riot in the borough in memory of the murdered pensioner, to be called the Richard Mannington Bowes Relief Fund.



Council leader Julian Bell said: "Although I did not know Mr Mannington Bowes, what I know about him I liked and my thoughts are with his family and friends.



"He was out on Monday night trying to protect the area where he lived and standing up for what is right.



"Sadly, someone who will clearly never share these values murdered him as a mob rampaged through our normally quiet streets."



Angie Bray, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, said: "The death of Mr Mannington Bowes is an appalling tragedy, coming as it does as a result of the night of riots in Ealing.



"He was clearly a good neighbour and an upstanding citizen. On the night when he was attacked, he was simply doing his duty as a loyal member of the local community.



"Obviously, our thoughts must be with his family and friends at this sad time, but the whole community has lost a good friend. Society can ill afford to lose decent people like Mr Mannington Bowes. We are all the poorer without him."