LONDON: High drama marked the hearing of Mr Rupert Murdoch before British lawmakers in the phone-hacking scandal where the media baron said that on Tuesday was "the most humble day of my life", as he apologised to the victims but said he was not responsible for the fiasco.
An intruder identified as Jonnie Marbles barged into the high-security committee room of the House of Commons and attacked the 80-year-old Mr Rupert Murdoch with a plate.
The globally televised hearing where Mr Rupert Murdoch faced intense grilling by parliamentarians, was suspended for about 15 minutes.
The intruder who described himself as an activist and comedian lunged towards Mr Murdoch from behind and hit him on his shoulder with the plate with shaving foam. Mr Rupert Murdoch’s wife Ms Wendi Deng sprung to his defence and appeared to be slapping the intruder who was quickly bundled out.
During the tense hearing, Mr Rupert Murdoch and his son Mr James Murdoch apologised for the phone hacking, a scandal which has engulfed their media empire and rocked police and politicians to the core, and told lawmakers that "these actions do not live up to the standards our company aspires to".
"This is the most humble day of my life," Mr Rupert Murdoch, the Australian-born head of the global News Corporation empire, told House of Commons culture, media and sport committee, that is seeking to uncover the extent of criminality his now-defunct News of the World tabloid.
Mr Rupert Murdoch said he was "appalled and ashamed" to learn that the phone of 12-year-old girl Milly Dowler had been hacked by his now-closed News of the World, which was UK’s largest selling tabloid.
He told MPs he was not aware that hacking was more widespread than originally claimed and he had "clearly" been misled by some of his staff.
Mr Rupert Murdoch denied ultimate responsibility for the phone-hacking scandal. When asked by lawmaker Mr Jim Sheridan, "Do you accept that ultimately you are responsible for this whole fiasco?", Mr Rupert Murdoch tersely replied: "No".
When asked who he blamed, Mr Rupert Murdoch said: "The people that I trusted to run it (his media empire) and then maybe the people they trusted."
The Australian media titan’s appearance on Tuesday is his first direct scrutiny by MPs during his 40-year UK media career.
Ms Rebekah Brooks, the former CEO of News International who appeared before the committee said, she was aware that the News of the World used the services of private detectives.
"I was aware that News of the World used private investigators," 43-year-old former executive of the tabloid said.
The flame haired journalist who is on the line of fire for the hacking scandal said, she never sanctioned payments to police. She also apologised for the intercepts and said, "We have acted as quickly as possible over evidence."
"Mistakes were made but we are putting them right," she told lawmakers, who grilled her for the fiasco that shook the British police and politics.
The hacking issue has shaken the British establishment and placed the Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron under tremendous pressure from Labour and some of his own MPs over his decision to hire former NoW editor, Mr Andy Coulson as his communications chief.
Mr Coulson, who was arrested two weeks ago, resigned as editor of the tabloid due to the phone-hacking allegations.
Mr Rupert Murdoch said the News of the World was "just 1 per cent" of his worldwide business and that he employed "people I trust to run these divisions".