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Murdoch pie thrower launches appeal after judge jails him for six weeks

A comedian who threw a foam pie at Rupert Murdoch immediately launched an appeal as he was jailed for six weeks yesterday, insisting the assault was designed to voice "widespread revulsion" over the phone hacking scandal.

Jonathan May-Bowles (26) was imprisoned after he admitted assaulting the 80-year-old media tycoon as he gave evidence to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

May-Bowles, also known by his comedy stage name 'Jonnie Marbles', disrupted proceedings by launching a paper plate of shaving foam at Mr Murdoch on July 19.

After he was sentenced at City of Westminster Magistrates Court in central London, his legal team promptly launched an appeal.

They maintain that the punishment handed down by District Judge Daphne Wickham was too severe, although she said that he will only serve three weeks in jail.

She also ordered him to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £250 costs.

The judge condemned his actions in interrupting the evidence Mr Murdoch was giving to the committee, which she said was "of huge importance" to many people.

The appeal will probably only be dealt with after he has served his sentence, defence counsel Tim Greaves said.

Mr Greaves told the court: "Slapstick and throwing pies dates back to the 1900s as a recognised form of protest.

"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."

The sentence came as one of the longest-serving senior executives in the recent history of the News of the World was arrested by police investigating the tabloid for phone hacking and illicit payments to police officers.

Stuart Kuttner (71) had worked for the newspaper for nearly 30 years and was responsible for managing its finances.

He was released on bail last night.

He is the 11th person to be arrested in relation to the phone-hacking scandal and was held after arriving with his solicitor for an appointment at a London police station.

He is understood to have been questioned by officers from the Operation Weeting team, which is investigating phone hacking.

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