A man, 68, attacked in the London riots has died in hospital – he was set upon by a gang when he tried to put out a fire in a wheelie bin.

Richard Mannington Bowes was attacked by up to 100 rioters as he stepped in to put out a fire in Ealing.

Petition for rioters to lose benefits gets 100,000 signatures
Liam Gallagher's shop looted in riots
Video: Cop beats up Manchester 'looter'

Police had to battle through the mob to reach the pensioner and were stopped from helping him as the baying crowd continued to throw bricks and bottles.

It took another 30 minutes for an ambulance to reach the scene, then Bowes was taken to hospital in a coma. He died last night.

London mayor Boris Johnson has hailed Bowes as a “hero”.

“He's an example to everyone,” Johnson said.

Riot hero Bowes was described by his neighbours as gentle, polite and well spoken.

The 68-year-old lived alone in an Ealing flat and had, apparently, confronted people for antisocial behaviour in the past.

A neighbour said: "He was incredibly embarrassed, but was doing the right thing.

"He was very polite and very well spoken. He wouldn't hurt a fly. Mr Bowes was very old school and had very traditional, old-fashioned values that are sorely lacking in many today.”

Ealing was badly hit by the riots on Monday night. Fires were started, shops looted and restaurants damaged.

Bowes was the fifth person to be killed in the riots.

Three men in Birmingham were run over by a car as they attempted to protect their property from looters, while a 26-year old man was shot in his car during the rioting in Croydon.

Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee later today. He vowed yesterday  to do "whatever it takes" to restore order to the streets.