Murdoch's pie-man dumped on Twitter

As the world watches replay after replay of an assailant attempting to attack Rupert Murdoch with a rudimentary custard pie, a smaller and yet more understandable drama is playing out on the microblogging service Twitter.

Twitter, which allows messages of up to 140 characters in size to be posted from almost any mobile device, is a rapid-fire information - and disinformation - tool. Many times stories break on Twitter before they appear anywhere else, and the service provides in interesting side channel for getting more information and personal reactions on breaking events.

This has never been more obvious than during today's Parliamentary Select Committee hearing. Towards the end of the mammoth two-and-a-half-hour session, an officially unidentified assailant attempted to hit News Corporation head Rupert Murdoch with a disposable plate covered in shaving foam. Defended by his wife, who planted an impressive slap on the assailant's face, the hearing was suspended while the assailant was arrested and removed.

Twitter, naturally, was abuzz with jokes, praise, and damnation for the attacker. People quickly discovered a series of messages posted by UK Uncut member Jonnie Marbles. "I'm actually in this committee," he posted, "and can confirm: Murdoch is Mr. Burns.

"It might be quicker if Baby Murdoch simply listed all of the things that he does know," he joked. It's Marbles' final message that proves the most interesting read: "It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before. #splat"

Despite UK Uncut denying any involvement in the attack - but describing it as "funny" in a since-deleted post to Twitter - it seems clear that Marbles is the perpetrator. What is even more clear is that his stunt - which many see as having detracted from a session that was resulting in some seriously uncomfortable questioning for the Murdochs - hasn't gone down all that well with his nearest and dearest.

Marbles' girlfriend is also a member of Twitter, posting under a private account that only approved followers can access. A change to her biography on the site - readable by all - indicates her displeasure, however. "Not funny," the new bio reads. "Not clever. Not your girlfriend."

Even assuming Marbles' doesn't end up in the Tower for his actions in Parliament - or, more realistically, in a cell for common assault - he's unlikely to be smiling for a while.

UPDATE 18:38

A retweeted message from before the account went private suggests that Marbles and his girlfriend had parted ways prior to the attack taking place. "OH GOD," the message reads. "People are saying the guy who custard pied Murdoch... is my ex-boyfriend..."