The death toll from the violent disorder that swept across England rose today after a man attacked by rioters as he attempted to stamp out a fire in west London died in hospital.
Richard Mannington Bowes, 68, who was left in a coma when he was set upon by a mob in Ealing during Monday’s disorder, died late last night, prompting detectives to launch a murder inquiry.
His death follows those of three friends who were run down by a car as they attempted to protect their community from looters in Birmingham and the murder of a 26-year-old father-of-four who was shot during disorder in Croydon.
Another wave of rioters and looters will today face justice in the courts today as measures to prevent a repeat of this week’s violent scenes are discussed by the Government and senior officials.
More than 1,500 people have now been arrested by forces in towns and cities hit by chaos and destruction earlier this week and more than 500 charged with offences related to the four days of disorder.
British Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra this morning a day after vowing to do “whatever it takes” to restore order to the streets.
In an emergency statement to the recalled House of Commons yesterday he set out a range of moves being examined in response to the situation – including the use of curfews and temporary curbs on the use of social media.
Mr Cameron also suggested sentencing could be toughened and more action taken against gangs as well as a raft of measure to help damaged businesses and communities recover, including new funds totalling £30m.
In a clear message to the courts – after police said they were “disappointed” at some of the sentences being handed down – he said anyone charged with rioting should be remanded in custody and anyone convicted should expect to go to jail.
But he fended off repeated Labour demands to rethink planned cuts to police budgets, insisting that they would not affect the numbers of officers on the streets.
As political discussions continue over how to restore order, the latest death has brought into focus the stark human consequences of the rioting.
A post mortem examination into the death of Mr Bowes is expected to take place in the coming days, while an inquest into the deaths of Haroon Jahan, 21, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, will take place today.
It comes a day after police arrested two youths and a man on suspicion of murder.
The deaths were described by Mr Cameron, who visited Birmingham and Wolverhampton on Wednesday, as a “dreadful incident” and followed the killing of Trevor Ellis, 26, who was shot following a car chase in Croydon on Monday.
Meanwhile investigators examining the circumstances surrounding the death of a man shot by police, in an incident which acted as a trigger for the first night’s rioting in Tottenham, appealed for witnesses.
Father-of-four Mark Duggan, 29, died after being shot in the chest last Thursday.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is appealing for witnesses who may have seen or heard anything to come forward.
According to the latest figures released by forces, Scotland Yard has made 1,009 arrests in London, with 464 charged.
West Midlands Police said 445 people had been arrested in connection with the disorder. with officers executing warrants overnight to bring more looters and rioters to justice.
Greater Manchester Police said they had made 147 arrests and more than 70 people had already gone through the courts, while Merseyside Police said they had made 77 arrests and charged 45 people.
Nottinghamshire Police said they had arrested 109 people and charged 69.
Police remained out in force in London and other riot-hit cities overnight but there were no major incidents reported.
Scotland Yard has faced criticism over its initial handing of the rioting when it erupted on Monday night and Tuesday morning and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh yesterday admitted there were not enough officers on duty to deal with the chaos.
However, Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, rejected criticism of police tactics.
He said forces had learned and reacted quickly to the trouble and dismissed the role of politicians in police operations.
In the past two days a number of magistrates’ courts have been holding all night sessions to process the huge number of suspects charged over the disorder.
Some of the suspects who have already been charged include an 11-year-old girl who was caught with a group of youths smashing store windows in Nottingham, a 31-year-old learning mentor who admitted taking part in looting in Croydon, south London and a 17-year-old ballerina accused of burglary.
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 people have signed an online petition calling for anyone convicted of rioting to lose any benefits they receive.
It will now be the first to be considered for a Commons debate.