Murdoch foam attacker jailed for six weeks

2nd August 2011, Comments 0 comments

A protester who thrust a foam pie into Rupert Murdoch's face as the media mogul answered lawmakers' questions on phone hacking was sentenced to six weeks in jail by a British court on Tuesday.

Jonathan May-Bowles, 26, a comedian who goes by the stage name of Jonnie Marbles, was jailed after pleading guilty to assaulting Murdoch as the 80-year-old was being questioned in a parliamentary hearing last month.

The pie-throwing incident on July 19 provided a bizarre interlude in a crisis which has rocked Britain and shaken Murdoch's News Corp. empire.

Some of the foam on a paper plate was splattered across Murdoch's jacket despite the efforts of his Chinese-born wife Wendi Deng, who leapt up and aimed a slap at May-Bowles' face.

Sentencing the stand-up comic at City of Westminster Magistrates Court in central London, District Judge Daphne Wickham said: "You attended with only one objective in mind, which was to disrupt proceedings.

"You came to hold to account the victim, you assaulted him by lunging towards him with this plate of white foam."

The judge said the highly-charged parliamentary hearing had been conducted with "dignity" until May-Bowles' attack.

She said that in passing sentence she had taken into account the fact that May-Bowles had no previous convictions.

Murdoch and his son James had been answering questions from lawmakers on the phone-hacking scandal at the News Corp-owned News of the World, which was closed down on July 7 amid public outrage.

The Australian-born media mogul closed down the tabloid -- Britain's top-selling Sunday newspaper -- after it was revealed it had hacked into the voicemail of a 13-year-old girl who was later found dead.

Private investigators working for the paper are also believed to have targeted the relatives of other child murder victims and tried to access the voicemails of the relatives of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

On his way into court, May-Bowles sent a Twitter message saying: "Sentencing today. I'm sure my punishment will be every bit as fair and proportionate as the one Murdoch received. Oh, hang on..."

Murdoch has faced no criminal action over the phone hacking scandal, although top executives who worked for the News of the World have been arrested and questioned.

Police on Tuesday detained a man reported to be News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner in the latest arrest linked to the scandal, which has also forced Murdoch to drop his bid for full control of satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article