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British police charge teen in retiree's death during riots

A 16-year-old boy has been charged in the killing of a 68-year-old London man who died while confronting rioters during the recent wave of violence in Britain.
A property was set ablaze Aug. 9 near Reeves Corner in Croydon, south London, as a wave of violence and looting raged across London and spread to other British cities. More than 3,000 people were subsequently arrested in the rioting. (PA, Lewis Whyld, File/Associated Press)

A 16-year-old boy has been charged in the killing of a 68-year-old London man who died while confronting rioters during the recent wave of violence in Britain.

Richard Bowes was attacked while trying to put out a fire started by rioters in a supermarket bin in Ealing on the evening of Aug. 8.

He was found lying in a street, and died three days later of head injuries.

A 22-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murdering Bowes is out on bail.

Bowes is one of five people who died last week during the worst rioting in Britain in decades.

Three men were hit by a car in Birmingham and a man was shot in the head in London.

The teen, who can't be named because he's underage, is among 3,000 people who were arrested. About 1,400 of them were charged with offences related to the violence.

The youth is expected to make a court appearance Tuesday. His mother has also been charged with obstructing the investigation by police.

The riots broke out Aug. 6 and continued throughout the first half of that week in cities including London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.

Richard Bowes, 68, died last Thursday of injuries after he was attacked by rioters in Ealing, just west of London. ((Metropolitan Police/HO/Associated Press))
Other charges relate to the torching of vehicles and buildings, and the looting of businesses and shops.

The riots had their beginnings in Tottenham, a low-income, multicultural neighbourhood in north London where 300 people had gathered to protest the fatal police shooting of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old who was gunned down in disputed circumstances on Aug. 4.

An inquest into Duggan's death opened Aug. 9, but a full hearing will likely take several months.

'Slow-motion moral collapse'

Police were initially criticized for responding too slowly to the riots, but police presence increased by the thousands to finally get the violence under control.

Home Secretary Theresa May was making a speech on the riots later Tuesday, arguing that police forces need clearer guidance on how to tackle riots.

On Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to deliver a raft of new policies aimed at reversing the "slow-motion moral collapse" that he blamed for fostering the disorder.

Cameron insisted that racial tensions, poverty and the government's austerity measures were not at the root of the riots as some insisted they were, instead blaming gang-related crime and deep-rooted social issues, including the country's generous welfare system.

The Association of British Insurers has estimated the cost from wrecked and stolen property at $326 million US but that total is expected to rise.

With files from The Associated Press

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