Actor Stephen Tompkinson said ‘I just want to go home’ as he left court today after being cleared of grievous bodily harm on a drunk stranger outside his home.
The 57-year-old DCI Banks star nodded but showed no visible emotion when the verdict was announced, while a disappointed sigh could be heard from the public gallery where complainant Karl Poole was sitting.
Earlier in the trial, the actor told how his acting career had been ‘put on hold’ and he had lost work as a result of the court case.
A neighbour allegedly saw Mr Tompkinson slap Karl Poole, 48, before punching him in the head.
But the star said the habit during a long career in showbusiness of not making proper contact in fight scenes had been ‘in-bred’ and he was sure only his palm made contact with Mr Poole and with little force as a form of self-defence.
Stephen Tompkinson leaving Newcastle Crown Court today after being cleared of GBH
Asked for his reaction as he was leaving court, Tompkinson told reporters: ‘I just want to go home’
After the verdict, a disappointed sigh could be heard from the public gallery where complainant Karl Poole (pictured outside court after the trial) was sitting
Recalling the incident which ended with Mr Poole lying unconscious with skull fractures, the actor told Newcastle Crown Court: ‘I didn’t want to hurt him, I wanted to stop him.’
He added: ‘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.’
Asked for his reaction to the verdict outside court today, Mr Poole said: ‘It is a shock to me that they reached that verdict and it’s very disappointing, I don’t think it was the right one.
‘I’m still affected by what happened that night, but I don’t want to say anything further.’
The court was told that Mr Poole, who had been dressed in his underpants and socks, and his friend Andrew Hall had taken a dip in the sea during an all-night drinking session.
Mr Tompkinson, who also starred in TV show Ballykissangel, said he was awake when he heard noises outside his house in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, at 5.30am on May 30, 2021.
Mr Tompkinson was seen shaking hands with a member of the public as he walked into court today
The DCI Banks star shared a brief exchanged of words with the man before entering the court
The actor said they ‘didn’t seem able to carry on with their journey’ and were ‘the very definition of drunk and disorderly’.
He dialled 999 and was on hold when he confronted the men in his pyjamas and dressing gown where they were drinking on the drive.
‘It was a very frightening situation, they both got to their feet,’ he said.
Mr Hall then used the familiar words ‘Come on then’ before Mr Tompkinson used his right hand to ‘guide’ Mr Hall ‘down on to all fours’.
Mr Tomkinson said he then made contact with Mr Poole’s face with his palm and moments later saw him on the ground motionless.
The actor said he spoke to police on his phone moments later but made no mention of how Mr Poole fell.
The actor is best known for playing DCI Banks on the popular ITV series
Tompkinson is pictured in 2019 with Educating Rita co-star Jessica Johnson
He said he knew from his experience of police dramas that he would get the chance later to give a full explanation of events.
He added: ‘It would be career suicide to do something as outrageous as assault someone.’
Tompkinson also told police: ‘I’ve never thrown a punch in my life. I’ve made a career out of being taught how not to hit people rather than hit them.’
He said 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.
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 on to my property,’ Tompkinson said.
Today the jury accepted the actor’s defence and cleared him of assault causing grievous bodily harm.
He had denied the charge.
Mr Tompkinson’s accuser Karl Poole in a social media photo