Murdoch foam pie attacker admits assault

LONDON — A British protester who hit media baron Rupert Murdoch with a foam pie during a parliamentary hearing pleaded guilty in court Friday to assault and causing harassment, alarm or distress.

By (AFP)

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Published: Fri 29 Jul 2011, 6:35 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:23 PM

Jonathan May-Bowles, a 26-year-old comedian, splattered Murdoch with a plate of shaving foam as the 80-year-old News Corporation boss was testifying to British lawmakers on July 19 on his company’s phone-hacking scandal.

Leaving court, May-Bowles echoed Murdoch’s statement to the hearing, telling reporters: “This has been the most humble day of my life.”

Dressed in a checked shirt and with hair plastered across his balding head, May-Bowles was mobbed by photographers and television camera crews as he appeared at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court in central London.

May-Bowles, who goes by the stage name of “Jonnie Marbles”, only spoke in court to confirm his name, age and address and to plead guilty to the two charges.

The hearing, which lasted 15 minutes, was told that Murdoch did not support the charge of assault, which could see the comedian jailed.

The hearing was adjourned for pre-sentencing reports until August 2, when May-Bowles must return to court to be sentenced.

His lawyer asked district judge Daphne Wickham to set another date as May-Bowles, who lives in Windsor, west of London, had booked a holiday with his family and young son.

But he was told that a warrant would be issued for his arrest if he did not appear on August 2.

“He is on bail for a serious offence which carries a risk of imprisonment,” the judge said.

“It’s due process. He should have thought about this on July 19 when he committed these offences.”

May-Bowles said in media interviews last week that he had “much respect” for Murdoch’s Chinese-born wife Wendi Deng, who leapt up to hit him during the incident.

He defended his attack on Murdoch, saying it “doesn’t match the misdeeds that he has committed as head of News International”, the British newspaper arm of Murdoch’s global media empire.

Murdoch and his son James were answering questions from lawmakers on the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World, Britain’s biggest-selling Sunday paper, which was closed down on July 7 amid public outrage.

The attack was shown live on television around the world and caused the hearing to be suspended for ten minutes.

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