British Teenager Charged with Murder in London Riots

Posted August 16th, 2011 at 5:00 am (UTC-5)
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A British teenager will appear in court Tuesday after being charged with murdering a man during the wave of riots that swept the country last week.

The boy, 16 years old, is charged with the death of Richard Bowes, a 68-year-old retiree who died of head injuries last Thursday after being attacked by rioters in west London.

The teenager, whose name has not been released because of his age, is due to appear in a London youth court on Tuesday. His mother has also been charged with obstructing the police investigation.

Nearly 3,000 people across the country have been arrested for participating in the riots, which left five people dead. Almost half of those detained have been charged with riot-related offenses.

On Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain must reverse what he calls a “moral collapse” that he blames for last week's deadly riots. Mr. Cameron pledged that his coalition government would set out new policies to address social problems and do more to target gangs.

The violence followed the fatal police shooting of a man in London's economically depressed Tottenham neighborhood and spread to other cities across Britain. It also raised questions about security as London prepares to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

The prime minister, who has been criticized for plans to cut back on police spending, acknowledged the moral decline is not limited to the poorest parts of society.

Opposition Labor Party leader Ed Miliband blamed the riots on what he called “a values crisis” across society — linking them to the financial crisis, scandals over lawmakers' expenses and the phone-hacking at the News of the World tabloid. He also accused Mr. Cameron of promoting what he called “knee-jerk gimmicks” to address the problems.