A MAN beaten to death during the London riots came from a distinguished family of Poole doctors. Richard Mannington Bowes died from head injuries at 11.52pm on Thursday, three days after trying to stop youths setting fire to bins near his Ealing flat.

The 68-year-old was the son of Edgar Richard Bowes, a surgeon lieutenant and Royal Navy veteran who ran a practice on Sandbanks Road with his brother. Mr Bowes reportedly moved away from home soon after his 20th birthday and neighbours in Ealing said he was a reclusive though friendly figure.

A 22-year-old man was last night being questioned on suspicion of murder, rioting and carrying out three burglaries. Mr Bowes’ childhood home was Rusthall, a villa on Parkstone Road. It has been knocked down and replaced by the flats of Churchfield Court.

The home was shared with his uncle, Edgar Scott Bowes, also a surgeon and Royal Navy veteran, who was awarded the OBE in 1950 for work with Poole’s Red Cross and St John Ambulance. After moving away, Mr Bowes reportedly cut all ties with his family, even rejecting the calls of his uncle, who had tracked him down to Ealing using private detectives.

Christopher Leaning, 67, an estranged cousin, said Mr Bowes was an accomplished pianist who was shaken by the disappearance of his father during his childhood. His sister, Anne Wilderspin, who lives in Derbyshire, said he gave her away at her wedding, but she had not seen him for more than 30 years.

Before he died, she said: “I am very sorry to see him like this, but in one way I am very pleased we could make contact again. “I noted it was a 68-year-old man injured in Ealing, but I didn’t think it was him. It was a shock and it still is a bit unreal.”

A police officer saw Bowes being knocked over by a “mob” of youths. He was found face down in a pool of blood and was put on a life support machine at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane said: “This was a brutal incident that resulted in the senseless killing of an innocent man.” Mr Bowes was reportedly arrested 10 years ago for remonstrating with youths who were urinating outside his home.

One neighbour said: “He was very polite and well spoken. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.” An Ealing businessman said: “He was lovely. He was the type of guy who was always asking people, ‘Don’t put the rubbish there’.” The Western London coroner’s office said an inquest was provisionally set to be opened on Monday.

Ealing Council yesterday flew its town hall flag at half-mast as a mark of respect. Resident Jayne Alvarez Smith wrote on a Facebook tribute page: “Today I went to the scene of Richard's attack where I laid flowers and a message for him. “I urge all the residents of Ealing to do the same. Show him and his family that we appreciate his bravery in standing up for us all.”