DCI Banks star Stephen Tompkinson tells court it would have been ‘career suicide’ to assault drunk man and says his work has been ‘put on hold’ as he gives evidence for the first time
- Tompkinson is accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Karl Poole
Actor Stephen Tompkinson today told a jury ‘it would be career suicide to do something as outrageous as assault someone’ as he denied punching a drunken stranger to the ground.
The DCI Banks star is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Karl Poole and causing him traumatic brain injuries.
The 57-year-old said his career had been ‘put on hold’ as a result of the court case.
In a detailed account of an alleged violent altercation at the end of his driveway, Tompkinson told Newcastle Crown Court ‘it was a very frightening situation’ and he felt ‘threatened and shaken’ by the behaviour of two strangers at 5.30am.
Tompkinson said the habit of not making hard contact has been ‘in bred’ during a long career on stage and screen and that only his palm made contact with Mr Poole and not with any force.
Stephen Tompkinson is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court – where he is pictured today – accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Karl Poole
Mr Poole was pictured outside Newcastle Crown Court last week as the case got underway
The actor told the court as Mr Poole moved towards him ‘I didn’t want to hurt him, I wanted to stop him’.
‘My right arm came over my shoulder and it contacted the left hand side of Karl’s face with an open palm,’ he continued.
‘I didn’t apply any excessive force that would have caused any sober person to fall over.’
But moments later, Mr Poole had fallen to the floor. Tompkinson said he held his mobile phone in his left hand throughout and there was ‘no punch at all.’
He added: ‘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 said his thought towards Mr Poole was ‘change your mind about coming towards me and further into my property’ and he used his open palm against his face to stop him.
He said he went back inside his home and hoped the police were on their way as a result of his call but added: ‘I went back to check on Karl’s wellbeing. I could see he hadn’t moved. On getting closer to him it was very clear he was snoring, very, very loudly.’
The 57-year-old is accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Poole – who jurors were told was dressed in just his underpants after swimming in the North Sea – on May 30, 2021. Pictured: On the popular ITV series
Tompkinson said he did not want to waste police time at the scene and said his work in police dramas made him believe he would have a chance to give a full explanation later.
Tompkinson was later arrested at his home address.
In an interview, he told officers he had asked the two men to move on so his partner and her child would not be disturbed inside his home, the jury was told.
He said that the men acted aggressively and came towards him, so he pushed Mr Hall away and ‘raised a hand’ to defend against Mr Poole.
Tompkinson was born in Stockton, Teesside, and rose to fame while playing Father Peter Clifford in the 1996 show Ballykissangel.
He also starred in ITV’s Wild At Heart drama alongside Amanda Holden and played DCI Banks for six years until the show’s last screening in 2016.
The trial continues.