Scottish Daily Mail

Cleared DCI Banks star: I just want to go home now

Tompkinson’s relief as he walks free after GBH trial

- By Chris Brooke

STEPHEN Tompkinson was yesterday cleared of causing grievous bodily harm to a drunken stranger who suffered ‘traumatic brain injuries’ outside his home.

The 57-year-old TV star let out a sigh of relief as the jury at Newcastle Crown Court returned a not guilty verdict after deliberati­ng for less than two hours.

Leaving court at the end of the five-day trial, Tompkinson said: ‘I just want to go home.’

The actor, who has starred in hit shows including DCI Banks and Ballykissa­ngel, said work had dried up and his career had been ‘on hold’ as a result of the allegation­s hanging over him.

He was accused of flooring Karl Poole, 48, with a punch, knocking him out cold and causing him to hit his head on the pavement and suffer skull fractures and internal bleeding.

But from the witness box Tompkinson said he made only slight contact with his right palm on the face as Mr Poole came towards him in a threatenin­g manner.

He told the jury he was on hold to speak to police because of two strangers misbehavin­g at the bottom of his driveway and had his mobile phone in his left hand throughout.

A neighbour who watched the incident from a bedroom window 100ft away said she was ‘100 per cent’ sure Tompkinson had thrown a punch. But the actor said she made an ‘honest mistake’ and it would have been impossible to punch someone with force while holding a phone.

The jury were shown pictures of Tompkinson with long hair and bruising on his left hand after his arrest in May 2021.

The issue of his hand was a feature of the trial. Tompkinson, who is right-handed, told the court the marks were caused by putting up a fitness bag three days earlier.

However, prosecutor Michael Bunch claimed they could have been caused by a ‘punch’ to Mr Poole’s head and questioned the actor about them in the witness box.

No comment was made about Tompkinson’s long hair and relatively dishevelle­d state in the arrest photo. However, the country had recently come out of lockdown and he had also been performing in the stage play Educating Rita with longer hair than normal.

Mr Poole, who was in hospital for four days after the incident, said he was ‘disappoint­ed’ with the verdict.

‘It’s a bit of a shock,’ he said, adding that his health two years after suffering the injury was ‘not quite right’. The court heard how Mr Poole and his friend Andrew Hall had been drinking all night and took a dip in the sea at Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, before heading back to Mr Hall’s house.

It was 5.30am on a Sunday in May 2021 when they stopped near the home Tompkinson shared with his girlfriend and her seven-year-old son, falling over and laughing in a ‘highly intoxicate­d state’.

Tompkinson was awake and went outside to ask them to stop making a noise as he didn’t want his family disturbed.

But instead of moving on, the atmosphere changed and Tompkinson suddenly felt threatened, he said. ‘It was a very frightenin­g situation. They both got to their feet,’ he added.

Mr Hall then made a ‘head butting gesture’ and used the ‘familiar words, “come on then”.’

Tompkinson said he used his right hand to ‘guide’ the drunken Mr Hall ‘down on to all fours’. He then made contact with Mr Poole’s face with his palm and moments later saw him on the ground.

‘I didn’t apply any excessive force that would have caused any sober person to fall over.

‘I am not responsibl­e for Karl Poole’s double skull fracture. He went off due to his own instabilit­y. He fell in a completely different direction.’

Tompkinson, who has never been in trouble with the police before, told the jury it would be ‘career suicide’ to attack someone in his high-profile job.

‘A frightenin­g situation’

After his arrest: A long-haired Stephen Tompkinson, and bruising on his left hand
POLICE MUGSHOT After his arrest: A long-haired Stephen Tompkinson, and bruising on his left hand

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