Ealing, London: 16-Year-Old Youth Charged With Murdering ‘Richard Bowes 68’ During Riots

16 Aug

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks at a youth center in Witney, his Parliamentary district in southern England, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011. Britain must confront its "slow-motion moral collapse" Cameron declared Monday, following four days of riots that left five people dead, thousands facing criminal charges and at least 200 million pounds ($326 million) in property losses. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)

Britain‘s Prime Minister David Cameron speaks at a youth center in Witney, his Parliamentary …

LONDON (AP) — British police have charged a 16-year-old boy with murdering a retiree who was attacked by rioters in London last week, as the government said officers would get better training and stronger powers to deal with a new and unpredictable era of street disturbances.

The boy, who can’t be named because of his age, is accused of killing 68-year-old Richard Bowes, who was found lying in a street during riots in Ealing, west London, on Aug. 8. He died of head injuries three days later.

The boy’s mother has been charged with obstructing the police investigation.

The suspect was due to appear in a London youth court Tuesday.

Five people died during violence that ravaged English cities last week, including three men hit by a car in Birmingham, central England, as they protected local shops from looters. Two men and a teenage boy have been charged with murdering Haroon Jahan, 20, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31.

Several suspects have been questioned about the death of a man who was shot in the head during rioting in south London.

Across the country, some 3,000 people have been arrested and about 1,400 of those charged with riot-related offenses.

Courts opened around-the-clock for several days to deal with the flood of suspects.

Rioting began in London Aug. 6 and spread to several other English cities. Police were criticized for responding too slowly, particularly in London, but eventually deployed huge numbers of officers at riot zones to quell the mayhem.

Police said they would keep up an expanded presence on the streets of London over the coming days, although the force didn’t give a detailed breakdown. Scotland Yard said many of the additional officers would be assigned to hunt those involved in the riots.

Home Secretary Theresa May said Britain had entered a “faster moving and more unpredictable” era of public order policing, and promised forces would get new instructions about training riot officers and responding to trouble.

“We will make sure police have the powers they need,” she said — including wider powers to impose curfews.

The government has already floated a raft of new powers, including allowing police to order thugs to remove masks or hoods, evicting troublemakers from subsidized housing and temporarily disabling cell phone instant messaging services.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will consult former Los Angeles, New York and Boston Police Chief William Bratton on gang-fighting techniques.

Many senior police officers feel stung by the decision to look to the U.S., and by government criticism of their handling of the riots, and oppose plans to slash police budgets as part of sweeping austerity measures.

May acknowledged the government would cut funding to the police by 20 percent over four years, but said that pay freezes and eliminating red tape meant the real-terms reduction would be much lower.

And she said there would be no effect on front-line officers.

“What matters is not the total number of officers employed but the total number of officers deployed,” May said.

On Monday Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to deliver a slew of new policies aimed at reversing the “slow-motion moral collapse” which he blamed for fostering the disorder.

Cameron insisted that racial tensions, poverty and the government’s austerity measures — much of which have yet to bite — were not the primary causes of the riots across London and other major cities.

Instead, Cameron pointed to gang-related crime, and a widespread failure from Britain’s leaders to address deep rooted social issues, including the country’s generous welfare system.

Cameron pledged to end a culture of timidity in discussing family breakdown or poor parenting, or in criticizing those who fail to set a good example to their children or community.

“We have been too unwilling for too long to talk about what is right and what is wrong,” Cameron said. “We have too often avoided saying what needs to be said, about everything from marriage to welfare to common courtesy.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Tuesday that the government would set up an independent panel — though not a full public inquiry — to hear from victims and investigate the causes of the riots.

Clegg said it would be “a grass roots process where people in the communities affected and the victims who have been so damaged and hurt can give their views about what needs to happen to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

The Association of British Insurers has estimated the cost from wrecked and stolen property at 200 million pounds ($326 million) but expects the total to rise.

___ (David Stringer contributed to this report).

NEWS UPDATE:

Play Video

Video: Boy Charged Over Ealing Riot Death 

A 16-year-old boy has been remanded in custody after being charged with the murder of a man attacked during the London riots, Scotland Yard has said.

Richard Bowes, 68, died on Thursday after being assaulted during disorder in Ealing, west London, last Monday.

The boy, from Hounslow, has also been charged with violent disorder and four counts of burglary and will be held in secure accommodation until August 18.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the boy’s mother was also charged with an act that tended to pervert the course of public justice.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed a 31-year-old woman from Hounslow, arrested at the same time at the scene, had been charged.

The boy appeared at Croydon Youth Court this morning, while his mother appeared at Croydon Magistrates’ Court.

Daren Streeter, head of CPS London homicide unit, said last night: “The CPS has this evening authorised that a 16-year-old male should be charged with the murder of Richard Mannington Bowes .

“At this stage, there is a reasonable suspicion that the 16-year-old was responsible for the unlawful killing of Mr Bowes. It is clearly in the public interest that he be prosecuted for this offence.”

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.

A post-mortem examination revealed he died from head injuries.

On Saturday night around 100 people attended a vigil organised by churches in Ealing in Mr Bowes’ memory.

It came a day after Ealing Council flew the Union Flag over its town hall at half-mast as a mark of respect.

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