Murdoch shaving foam attack: 'Jonnie Marbles' jailed
- 2 August 2011
- From the section London
A man who threw a plate of shaving foam at News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch has been jailed for six weeks.
Jonathan May-Bowles, of Edinburgh Gardens, Windsor, Berkshire, admitted attacking the media tycoon on 19 July at a Commons hearing on phone hacking.
The 26-year-old, who calls himself Jonnie Marbles, admitted assault and causing harassment, alarm or distress.
The comic said he would appeal against the sentence, which was passed at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.
He was told he would serve three weeks in prison, and must pay a £15 victim surcharge and £250 costs.
'Making a statement'
Mr Murdoch and his son James were giving evidence before MPs at the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee when May-Bowles rushed forward from the public gallery.
He threw a paper plate full of foam, which hit Mr Murdoch's skin and clothes.
The 80-year-old's wife, Wendi Deng, jumped up and appeared to slap May-Bowles on the head as several people tackled him.
Father-of-one May-Bowles smuggled the foam in an old shirt and appeared to show little interest in the proceedings, even dozing off at one stage, said prosecutor Malachy Pakenham.
But defence solicitor Tim Greaves said May-Bowles was trying to "make a statement" through a form of slapstick.
He said: "He intended to express how he was feeling and how he believed the British public were feeling, and he sought to do that in the least harmful way he could."
District judge Daphne Wickham said the aim of the attack was to disrupt proceedings, which were "of huge importance".
She said she had also taken into account the fear of injury Mr Murdoch would have experienced, as he did not know what was in the pie.
'Most humble day'
The judge said: "This is a parliamentary process, which as you know conducts itself with dignity and in a civilised fashion.
"Everybody else in the room expected that, with one exception - you.
"You attended those proceedings with only one intention, to disrupt them."
The jail term was described as "excessive" by Mr Greaves, who argued his client should be bailed while an appeal was launched.
But Mrs Wickham refused to grant bail and ordered May-Bowles to stay behind bars.
After pleading guilty last week, the part-time comic told reporters: "I would just like to say this has been the most humble day of my life", mimicking Mr Murdoch's statement to MPs.
The tycoon had not supported the assault charge, the court heard, but prosecutors proceeded with the case.