Actor Stephen Tompkinson faces a nervous overnight wait as the jury retired to consider their verdict in his GBH case - after his lawyer told the
Actor Stephen Tompkinson faces a nervous overnight wait as the jury retired to consider their verdict in his GBH case – after his lawyer told them he had ‘everything to lose’ and wasn’t a ‘showbiz hellraiser’.
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.
But 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?’
Mr Lumley said that in showbusiness ‘there may be hellraisers who wear their reputation as some sort of badge of honour and trade on it’ but Tompkinson had always been a true professional, describing him as ‘acting royalty’.
He said he was no criminal, commenting: ‘Whatever he did he did in self-defence and what he did was reasonable and no more than many of us would have done.’ His client denies causing grievous bodily harm.
Stephen Tompkinson arriving at Newcastle Crown Court today for the fourth day of his GBH trial
Challenging Tompkinson’s account, prosecutor Michael Bunch said the actor ‘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.
He described him as an ‘expert’ performer, adding: ‘He can deliver a line.’
The court heard friends Karl Poole and Andrew Hall had been for a dip in the sea at Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, after an all-night drinking session and were falling over laughing yards from Tompkinson’s house.
In a confrontation with the defendant that followed, Mr Poole ended up unconscious on the ground with fractures to his skull.
Mr Bunch said ‘nobody is saying he wanted to cause significant harm to either of them’ but he suggested Tompkinson ‘snapped and lashed out.’
The prosecutor dismissed character references about the successful actor as insignificant, asking the jury: ‘How many of us can say we have never lost our temper?’
He added: ‘We all have things that antagonise us and cause us to react in ways we are not proud of later.’
He told jurors the ‘central question of the case’ was how Mr Poole ended up unconscious on the road.
‘Was Mr Poole punched by the defendant in anger or was the anger Mr Poole’s when the defendant challenged him over his drunken condition?’
A witness allegedly saw Tompkinson slap Karl Poole before punching him in the head
Mr Bunch said the actor had also been ‘utterly callous’ in filming video clips of the stricken Mr Poole on the ground while his friend tended to him as they awaited the arrival of paramedics.
And he told the jury the defendant was ‘evasive’ in not telling police officers details of what happened when they arrived at the scene.
Mr Bunch insisted Tompkinson ‘lost his temper’ and ‘punched’ the stranger and the ‘evidence shows the defendant is guilty.’
But Mr Lumley said the neighbour who watched the incident from her bedroom window was ‘honestly mistaken’ in her unbiased account of what she saw from 100ft away.
‘Few things in life are certain,’ he said.
Mr Lumley told the jury he did not claim neighbour Caroline Davidson ‘made up’ her testimony that she saw Tompkinson floor Mr Poole with a punch to his head from his left hand.
But he said she was mistaken and that the ‘really key feature or prop’ in the case was Tompkinson’s phone which he allegedly clutched in his left hand – while on hold awaiting to speak to the police – throughout the incident.
Mr Lumley said: ‘Like a teenager that phone didn’t leave his hand.’
He said if he had been ‘intent on violence’ the phone would have been an ‘impediment.’
He added: ‘It’s quite impossible to clench a fist, to make a fist around a phone and to punch.’
The jury has retired to consider their verdict.