The man responsible for yesterday’s ‘custard pie’ attack on the Murdochs, which quickly became known online as “Piegate”, was named as Jonathan May-Bowles, an amateur comedian, former student of Royal Holloway University and anti-cuts activist from Windsor.
Friends expressed surprise and dismay that the member of UK Uncut and the offshoot group Art Uncut had carried out the attack, describing him as the “sensible one”. The 26-year-old described himself at a comedy gig as “from the rough end of Windsor” and as “white, middle class”.
One friend, who refused to be named, said: “It seems massively attention-seeking and his friends seem very angry with him for doing something so stupid.”
The friend, who met May-Bowles and his girlfriend “a few times” at anti-cuts protests, added: “When I met him, he came across as quiet and shy. He is generally a bit more sensible than that. He would normally be a more moderating influence on the people around him. I think, perhaps, he just saw an opportunity to get at Rupert Murdoch he would not get again and went for it. But it was a stupid thing to do.
The friend described herself as “genuinely surprised” that Mr May-Bowles had carried out the attack. She said: “I didn’t think he would be the type of guy to do that.”
May-Bowles has performed stand-up gigs in London and one video of a performance in Stockwell had been viewed fewer than 500 times between January 2009, when it was uploaded and yesterday, when the attack took place. At the event, which May-Bowles said was his seventh, he joked: “behind this mild-mannered exterior, I am a party animal. Specifically, I am a party doormouse. This means, I sneak into parties, hide in the corner and nibble on pieces of cheese, while attempting to avoid my natural predators: crazy cats, foxy ladies, night owls, stoats, weasles and badgers. I go to a lot of Wind in the Willows-themed parties.”
Friends said yesterday that they believed May-Bowles to be a relation of Camilla Parker Bowles, a claim denied by Clarence House.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed that a 26-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault after an incident during a public meeting in Portcullis House. He has been taken into custody. He used a non-toxic substance, believed to be shaving foam and the incident is not considered a breach of security.”