In the Media

Teenager admits killing pensioner Richard Mannington Bowes in London riots

PUBLISHED March 12, 2012

Boy who attacked Ealing man as he tried to put out a fire also pleads guilty to violent disorder, having already admitted burglary

A 17-year-old youth has admitted killing a pensioner who was trying to put out a fire during last year's summer riots. The teenager punched Richard Mannington Bowes, knocking him to the ground. The pensioner, 68, banged his head and suffered brain damage as a result. He died in hospital on August 11, three days after the incident near his home in Ealing, west London.

The youth, who cannot be named because of his age, admitted manslaughter when he appeared at Inner London crown court. He also pleaded guilty to violent disorder, having previously admitted burglary at William Hill, Tesco Express, Blockbusters and Fatboys Thai restaurant on August 8.

Mannington Bowes was trying to put out a fire in a supermarket bin near the Arcadia shopping centre at around 10.45pm on 8 August ? the third night of London rioting ? when he was set upon by rioters. A picture of him lying face down in a pool of blood became an enduring image of the horror and violence of the riots.

His sister, Anne Wilderspin, said afterwards she was struggling to understand what had happened. "I don't really feel anything at the moment. I am overwhelmed by the last 24 hours and just feel a bit stunned. I am trying to come to terms with everything that's been going on."

Wilderspin had lost contact with her brother more than 30 years previously; while he was in hospital, she had said she was pleased at least to have managed to see him again.

After Mannington Bowes's death, Ealing council flew the union flag over its town hall at half-mast as a mark of respect for the pensioner and announced the launch of an appeal in his memory to help all the borough's victims of the riot, to be called the Richard Mannington Bowes Relief Fund.

Council leader Julian Bell said Mannington Bowes had died trying to protect the area in which he lived. "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 was "an appalling tragedy", which had been a direct result of the riots. "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."

The teenager still faces a murder charge and will appear in court again on Tuesday.

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