A man who was attacked and critically injured after he remonstrated with rioters has been named by police as Richard Mannington Bowes, aged 68.
It took two days for police to identify Mr Bowes, who became an anonymous hero after standing up to his attackers as they rampaged through Ealing on Monday night.
He has not regained consciousness since suffering serious head injuries in the attack, and was found without any identification.
His identity was established only after locals recognised his description and officers used his keys to enter his home.
Mr Bowes remains critical on a life-support machine, and police said yesterday the investigation could turn into a murder inquiry.
Speaking about the incident from the scene of the attack in Springbridge Road, Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane said officers were massively outnumbered by scores of rioters who were attempting to loot the Arcadia shopping centre, and called for backup as they were showered with missiles.
"There was some suggestion he was attacked because he was stamping out fires that had been started," said Mr McFarlane. "An officer saw Mr Bowes being knocked over and attacked and they called for assistance."
Mr Bowes was found without a wallet or phone, so officers struggled to identify him. Mr McFarlane said the victim, who is originally fromBournemouth, "clearly kept himself to himself and appears to be a very private man", adding: "I am desperate to get in touch with any of his family."Reuse content