Oliver Pickup, Daily Mail (London), August 16, 2011
A 16-year-old boy killed a pensioner with a single punch as he tried to put out fires during the London riots, a court heard.
Onlookers pleaded ‘no, no, he’s an old man’ as a teenager wearing a T-shirt with the slogan ‘Robbers and Villains’ attacked.
Richard Mannington Bowes, 68, was punched in the face as he tried to extinguish a blaze near his home in Ealing, West London.
The force of the blow caused him to fall over smashing his head on the pavement. He died three days later on August 11 from the injuries he sustained.
A 16-year-old boy has been charged with Mr Bowes’s murder.
The Crown Prosecution Service also charged the Hounslow-based teenager–unidentified for legal reasons–with violent disorder as well as four counts of burglary.
They related to looting at a William Hill bookmakers, a Tesco Express, a Blockbusters video shop and a Fatboys restaurant.
The chubby teenager appeared in the dock in a black T-shirt with his arms folded. He did not enter a plea to the charges.
District Judge Robert Hunter refused bail and ordered him to appear on Thursday at the Old Bailey.
The 16-year-old’s mother, sat next to him in the dock at Croydon Magistrate’s Court wearing a grey and pink tracksuit.
The 31-year-old is charged with perverting the course of justice.
She cannot be named as it would identify her son.
Outlining the case against the teenage boy, prosecutor John Gardner said: ‘These matters go to August 8 and the area being Ealing Broadway in west London.
‘The circumstances are that Richard Mannington Bowes lived in the area, he was 68, and during the disturbances that were taking place in that area around Spring Bridge Road he was seen to walk from his home address toward the shopping area.
‘On Spring Bridge Road there is a hump back bridge and there was a stand off between 60 and 70 youths who were attacking police officers.’
Mr Bowes was seen walking along the road from his house toward the shopping centre by witnesses as trouble flared between the youths and the police.
Mr Gardner continued: ‘Fires had been lit and missiles were being thrown. It was during this period of time around 10.30pm the Mr Bowes was spotted going over to a bin which had been set alight.
‘It would seem he was trying to extinguish the fire in the bin when he was challenged by a number of people who came from the crowd.
‘At this point he is punched in the face and falls backwards striking his head on the road surface. He remained completely motionless.’
Mr Bowes never regained conciousness after the blow and died three days later.
CCTV evidence showed a teenager, believed to be the same youth, wearing a jumper saying ‘Robbers and Villians’ that evening.
Mr Gardner added: ‘There is a recording of voices being heard at the time saying “What the **** are you doing, no no, he is an old man”.
‘Clearly this is a voice recording from the attack on Mr Bowes.’
The judge said: ‘I am satisfied from what I have heard to the nature of the allegations that a secure remand is necessary in order to protect the public from serious harm.’
The 16-year-old was taken down as his mother’s case was heard, with neither saying a word but exchanging glances.
Mr Gardner said the case against the mother came after police visited her home and she admitted to disposing of clothing.
She was also refused bail and will appear alongside her son at the Old Bailey.
Mr Bowes, who lived alone in Haven Green, Ealing, was placed on a life-support machine following the attack, which took place as violence spread through the capital.
On Saturday night around 100 people attended a vigil organised by churches in Ealing in Mr Bowes’s memory.
It came a day after Ealing Council flew the Union Flag over its town hall at half-mast as a mark of respect.
Mr Bowes’s sister Anne Wilderspin said she was devastated at the violent nature of her brother’s death.
Mrs Wilderspin, 73, said: ‘We were able to spend some time with him before he died and we asked the hospital chaplain to give a short service.
‘He was obviously badly injured and wouldn’t survive–we realised that when we saw him.
‘It’s very sad, it would have been wonderful to be able to talk with him but that was not meant to be.’
Mrs Wilderspin lives in Matlock, Derbyshire with her husband Michael and said she never thought her family would be affected by the four days of riots in the capital.
She said: ‘Before I found out it was him, I’d read that a 68-year-old man had been injured in the riots in Ealing but it didn’t occur to me that it was my own brother. It took some time to sink in. It felt unreal.
‘Richard is a hero. He took action to stop things from happening and paid for it with his life.’