Video: Pie-thrower takes last shot at Murdoch

Image: Jonathan May-Bowles arrives at London court
Andrew Winning  /  Reuters
Jonathan May-Bowles makes his way past cameras as he arrives at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Friday.
msnbc.com news services
updated 7/29/2011 9:54:23 AM ET 2011-07-29T13:54:23

A British man who splattered media mogul Rupert Murdoch with a shaving-cream pie — only to be struck by Murdoch's wife in a robust defense of her husband as he gave evidence to a parliamentary committee — pleaded guilty to assault on Friday.

"I would just like to say this has been the most humble day of my life," Jonathan May-Bowles quipped after the hearing, borrowing the phrase famously used by Murdoch when he appeared before lawmakers earlier this month.

May-Bowles, a stand-up comic who goes by the name Jonnie Marbles, admitted assault and causing harassment, alarm or distress during his morning appearance at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, Britain's Sky News reported.

BBC News reported that May-Bowles initially told his lawyer that he would be unable to return for the sentencing hearing scheduled for Tuesday because he had already booked a vacation during that time.

The judge sternly told May-Bowles that he would need to appear, regardless of his pre-booked travel plans, the BBC reported.

Agitated
The incident occurred July 20 as the 80-year-old Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp., testified over allegations newspapers in his stable had engaged in illegal phone hacking.

May-Bowles, 26, who witnesses said appeared agitated in the moments before the incident, walked over to where Murdoch was sitting next to his son James and smeared the elder Murdoch with the pie.

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Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng, leapt up to defend her husband, pushing the assailant away and striking him at least once with her fist.

Murdoch's News Corp. has been rocked by weeks of allegations of wrongdoing at his British newspapers.

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Despite the furor, his son James received the backing of the board of British satellite broadcaster BSkyB to stay on as chairman.

News Corp. closed the 168-year-old News of the World after the claims emerged that the phone of teenager Miller Dowler had been hacked while she was missing. She was later found to have been murdered.

Murdoch met the Dowler family to apologize and told Britain's parliament that he was "absolutely shocked, appalled and ashamed" when he heard the news.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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