Stephen Tompkinson: DCI Banks star cleared of causing grievous bodily harm to drunk man outside his house

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Prosecutors claimed Tompkinson “snapped” and “lashed out” at a drunk man in “disgust” at his behaviour, but the actor told jurors he only pushed him away in self-defence.

Actor Stephen Tompkinson has been cleared of a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm on a man he confronted for drunkenly making noise outside his North Tyneside home, in the early hours of the morning

The DCI Banks star was accused of punching Karl Poole in the head after finding him and a friend drinking at the bottom of his driveway around 5.30am, on 30 May 2021. Mr Poole fell to the ground and cracked his skull, suffering a traumatic brain injury, when his head hit the pavement.

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Prosecutors had claimed Tompkinson “snapped” and “lashed out” at Mr Poole in “disgust” at his behaviour. But Tompkinson told jurors he only pushed Mr Poole away in self-defence and the contact “wasn’t enough to knock a sober man off his feet”.

But on Thursday (11 May) at Newcastle Crown Court, a jury found him not guilty of causing grievous bodily harm after deliberating for just under two hours. Journalists in the courtroom reported Tompkinson nodded, but showed no visible emotion when the verdict was announced, while a disappointed sigh could be heard from the public gallery, where Mr Poole was sitting.

Actor Stephen Tompkinson (left) leaves Newcastle Crown Court after he was found not guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm by punching a drunk man who was making noise outside his house. (Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)Actor Stephen Tompkinson (left) leaves Newcastle Crown Court after he was found not guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm by punching a drunk man who was making noise outside his house. (Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)
Actor Stephen Tompkinson (left) leaves Newcastle Crown Court after he was found not guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm by punching a drunk man who was making noise outside his house. (Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire) | Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Asked for his reaction as he was leaving court, Tompkinson told reporters: “I just want to go home.”

The court earlier heard Mr Poole and his friend had been drinking since midnight that bank holiday Sunday, and had gone to the beach before passing Tompkinson’s home in Whitley Bay on the walk back.

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Tompkinson, who lived with his partner and her seven-year-old son at the time, heard “strange noises” at around 5.30am. The 57-year-old called 999 after seeing the pair try to stand up and fall several times while drinking from a bottle of Jagermeister, jurors heard.

While waiting to be connected, Tompkinson went outside wearing pyjamas and a dressing gown and told the “heavily intoxicated” men who he was calling.

Neighbour Caroline Davidson, who was watching from her bedroom window, told the court she saw Tompkinson slap and punch Mr Poole, causing him to stumble and fall backwards, hitting his head on the ground.

But Tompkinson argued he could not have punched Mr Poole because he was holding his phone. He told the court the two men “took great objection to me complaining about them being there” and had started to move towards him.

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He said he put his hand out to stop Mr Poole coming any further. “I didn’t want to hurt him, I wanted to stop him, to change his mind about coming towards me and further onto my property,” Tompkinson said.

Tompkinson told the court he has lost acting work since being charged and any association with him in the industry was “on hold” while the legal proceedings were hanging over him.