An internet ‘prankster’ who, dressed as Spider-Man, kicked and punched a supermarket worker unconscious can today be unmasked as a martial arts champion.
Thug Josh McDonald, 33, sickened hundreds of thousands online when a video emerged of his violent assault during a fancy-dress invasion of an Asda by self-proclaimed ‘influencers’.
Yesterday a judge heard he had admitted actual bodily harm and violent disorder in the disturbing incident – which was filmed and live-streamed online by several of the mob involved.
And the Daily Mail can reveal McDonald is a black belt in mixed martial arts who won a number of fights after training at the Black Dragon Martial Arts Academy near his home in Northampton.
He boasted online he was a contender for the ‘Iska kickboxing world championship’ in 2016 in Stuttgart, Germany.
Thug Josh McDonald (pictured dressed as Spider-Man), 33, sickened hundreds of thousands online when a video emerged of his violent assault during a fancy-dress invasion of an Asda by self-proclaimed ‘influencers’
McDonald’s dreams of sporting stardom are now in tatters after he and four others admitted their involvement in the violent assault at Asda in Clapham Junction, south London, one evening in July 2021.
The supposed prank’s leader was George O’Boyle, 30, who was dressed as Ali G while repeatedly threatening to punch staff as he led the crowd of his online ‘followers’, similarly in costume, into the supermarket.
What he had billed as a fun stunt became ever more violent – with multiple Asda staff beaten with metal bars, punched, kicked, and left bloodied after the mob burst into the shop’s storeroom.
When supervisor Lauren Scott remonstrated with ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, Sophie Roberts, 19, as she rampaged back on to the shop floor, the teenager – also a kickboxer and who trained at the same academy as McDonald – punched her in the face.
As Miss Scott tried to defend herself, McDonald marched over in his Spider-Man costume and high-kicked and punched her unconscious, before proudly stalking off.
Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court was set to begin a four-week trial into the near-riot but yesterday heard that all the key participants had admitted guilt. They will be sentenced next month.
As well as McDonald’s guilty plea, O’Boyle, of Surbiton, south London, admitted both violent disorder and assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH).
‘Red Riding Hood’ Roberts, of Northampton, yesterday pleaded guilty to ABH assault on Miss Scott, and public disorder involving threats of violence.
When supervisor Lauren Scott remonstrated with ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, Sophie Roberts (left), 19, as she rampaged back on to the shop floor, the teenager – also a kickboxer and who trained at the same academy as McDonald – punched her in the face
‘Red Riding Hood’ Sophie Roberts (pictured), 19, of Northampton, yesterday pleaded guilty to ABH assault on Miss Scott, and public disorder involving threats of violence
One-legged amateur boxer Rikki McKenzie, 37, also of Northampton, had dressed as faux-disabled ‘Andy’ from TV sketch show Little Britain in the Asda invasion, complete with ‘bald-wig’ – although at some point he switched it for Goldilocks plaits.
As stuff struggled to force him unwillingly out of the shop, he fell from his wheelchair.
McKenzie was back in his wheelchair in court yesterday as he admitted a public order offence involving threats of violence.
Mark Pettigrew, 38, from west London, had joined the Asda mayhem dressed in uniform as ‘Army Man’, and was involved in an attack on two workers.
He was not present in court, but the judge was told he admitted public disorder with violent threats.
O’Boyle’s girlfriend and mother of his two children, Katie Pickard, 31, from south London, had been dressed as a nun while Charlie Jay Sharp, 19, from Northampton, had gone to the supermarket as ‘Onesie Girl’ in a purple onesie.
But prosecutor Nicholas Mather told the court he was not proceeding with the charges against the pair, saying: ‘They were certainly at the Asda and involved in some way – but whether they personally used or threatened violence is a moot point, and at some point they can be seen on videos restraining those involved in violence.’
They were formally declared not guilty of charges of violent disorder.
McDonald, O’Boyle and Roberts could all face five years in jail, the maximum sentence for ABH, as well as for violent disorder.
Public disorder with threats of violence can lead to up to six months.
O’Boyle, who calls himself ‘Gee Money’ online, had more than 50,000 followers on Instagram, Tik Tok, and YouTube – with his largely teenage fans amused by his inane stunts in shops, including him frying a breakfast for himself in a supermarket aisle.
O’Boyle and McDonald put videos out of them remotely directing Roberts to sneak into a shop at night, and laughing as she shouted and swore at staff who caught her and asked her to leave.
In the Clapham junction incident, which was advertised online and all-comers welcomed to join in, other participants included a Batman, and a human fly. Many were filming and live-streaming with their phones on selfie-sticks as the increasingly ugly incident unfolded.
The supposed prank’s leader was George O’Boyle (pictured in yellow Ali G costume), 30, who was dressed as Ali G while repeatedly threatening to punch staff as he led the crowd of his online ‘followers’, similarly in costume, into the supermarket.
Pictured: George O’Boyle (left) and Josh McDonald. ‘Influencer’ O’Boyle, of Surbiton, south London, admitted both violent disorder and assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH).
Unemployed McDonald, who claims to be a ‘sportsperson/entertainer’, had been described by his martial arts coach as an ‘elite athlete multiple champion’ who was ‘locked and loaded’.
Praise of him went on: ‘Josh has represented our country in our sport, winning a bronze medal, and became southern area champion. World bronze medallist. True warrior.’
O’Boyle, who describes himself as ‘an outgoing young salesman’, declares online: ‘Supermarkets are my playground’.
He had previous criminal damage convictions over other stunts, but had offered advertisement slots by his videos, and planned to sell merchandise.
Roberts has also had more than 20,000 followers on Instagram.
McKenzie received donations online after an appeal for £2,000 to pay for a specialised wheelchair to help improve his boxing.