Jury in Stephen Tompkinson GBH trial retires to consider verdict

Jurors in the trial of actor Stephen Tompkinson were told his “talent makes him convincing in putting across a story” as they retired to consider their verdict.

The 57-year-old DCI Banks star is accused of punching a man who was drunkenly making noise outside the actor’s home in the early hours of May 30 2021.

In his closing speech to the jury, prosecutor Michael Bunch said Tompkinson “snapped” and “lashed out” at Karl Poole, causing him to suffer a fractured skull when he fell and hit his head on the pavement following the alleged blow.

Newcastle Crown Court has heard Tompkinson came out of his house wearing pyjamas and a dressing gown after finding Mr Poole and his friend Andrew Hall drinking at the bottom of his driveway at 5.30am.

A neighbour who watched the incident from her bedroom window told the court she saw Tompkinson slap and punch Mr Poole, but Tompkinson said he simply pushed the man away in self-defence.

Mr Bunch said Tompkinson had argued his profession made him less likely to assault anyone because it would be “career suicide”.

“But when we snap, do we worry about the consequences in that moment?” the prosecutor asked jurors.

“Do we think about anything else other than that which has made us see red?”

The prosecutor said the jury might think Tompkinson’s “obvious talent makes him convincing in putting across a story”.

“He is an expert in playing a part – a man tormented by a pair of drunks. He can deliver a line,” Mr Bunch said.

He told jurors Tompkinson was “disgusted” by the two men, reminding them he had described their behaviour as “disgraceful” and “pure self-indulgence by grown men who should be behaving better”.

Nicholas Lumley KC, defending Tompkinson, said he was an actor “sought out by producers because of his calmness” and asked: “Why would he risk throwing away that hard earned reputation?”

Karl Poole outside Newcastle Crown Court
Karl Poole outside Newcastle Crown Court (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Jurors heard Mr Poole and Mr Hall had been drinking since midnight that bank holiday Sunday and had gone to the beach before passing Tompkinson’s home in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, on the walk back.

Tompkinson, who was living with his partner and her seven-year-old son at the time, heard “strange noises” and went out to challenge the two “heavily intoxicated” men, one of whom was wearing just his underpants.

He had called 999 after seeing the pair try to stand up and fall several times while drinking from a bottle of Jagermeister, the court heard.

While waiting to be connected, he went outside and told them he was calling the police.

Tompkinson told court the two men “took great objection” to him complaining and had started to move towards him.

He said he put his hand out to stop Mr Poole coming any further and made contact with his face, but told jurors it “wasn’t enough to knock a sober man off his feet”.

Judge Paul Sloan KC, the Recorder of Newcastle, sent the jury out to consider its verdicts at 3.20pm on Wednesday. They were sent home for the day an hour later, to resume their deliberations on Thursday.

Tompkinson denies one charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm.