Stephen Tompkinson 'in pyjamas when he punched drunk stranger,' court hears

Stephen Tompkinson was in his pyjamas when he allegedly threw a punch leading him to face charges of grievous bodily harm, the court has heard.

The actor, who is best known for playing the lead in DCI Banks, is currently on trial at Newcastle Crown Court accused of GBH, with trial now entering its second day.

Tompkinson denies the charges after being accused of ‘unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm’ on a man named Karl Poole on May 30, 2021 just before 6am.

At a hearing in May 2022, Tompkinson entered a ‘not guilty’ plea, with his barrister informing the court that he would be arguing self-defence.

On day one of the trial, the court heard a witness had claimed Tompkinson had punched Poole, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head after Poole had been drunkenly lying on a path by Tompkinson’s house and making noise after a night of drinking.

The witness, a neighbour, said Tompkinson emerged from his home and appeared to be telling Poole and his friend Andrew Hall to get on their way, with Hall living nearby, before the alleged punch which left Poole unconscious.

Now the court has heard that the actor was in his pyjamas and dressing gown at the time of the alleged incident, as Poole’s friend Hall took to the witness box.

As reported by PA, Hall recalled a ‘cracking’ sound as Poole hit the ground after the alleged assault, and said Tompkinson showed ‘remorse’ afterwards as he sat ‘on his haunches with his hands on his head.’

Hall claimed the first he noticed of trouble was hearing ‘shouting’ between Poole and Tompkinson, who was in his pyjamas and dressing gown. He went on to say that he initially calmed the situation and the two men walked away – but moments later an incident occurred that left Poole with ‘traumatic head injuries’.

He admitted that he did not see Tompkinson punch his friend while under cross-examination from Nicholas Lumley, KC and that he ‘never saw how he ended up on the floor’ and is ‘not 100% sure’ he heard the noise of ‘hitting flesh’ which caused him to fall.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch said the men had been drinking since midnight and had gone to watch the sunrise at the beach, and had passed Tompkinson’s house on the way back to Hall’s residence and were making noise out there.

Tompkinson’s neighbour Carole Davidson also took to the witness box and told the court she did see Tompkinson punching Poole.

She said she was woken by ‘hysterical laughter’ and looked out of her bedroom window to see the men lying on path near Tompkinson’s residence. They appeared ‘very drunk,’ and were ‘wobbling’ from side to side, with Poole wearing nothing but boxer shorts.

Davidson returned to bed but was awoken again when she heard ‘a different tone’ as Tompkinson came out of his house and spoke to the men.

She said the actor ‘was using hand movements to ask them to move away’ and at one point ‘pulled his fist back’ but put it down ‘more or less straight away’ before walking back towards his house while apparently making a phone call.

The two men then got up with some difficulty, put their arms around each other and ‘started to try and walk off’ when Tompkinson allegedly came out again and the men started to turn around as ‘maybe something was being said.’

‘The next thing I knew the neighbour had stepped forward and he had slapped one of the gentlemen, the one without the top on, with his right hand and then punched him on the head with his left hand.’

Asked by prosecutor Bunch if there was anything that ‘precipitated that action,’ she said no, and that she was ‘100% sure’ that her neighbour had moved towards the two men.

Poole had ‘stumbled backwards and fell,’ she told the court.

‘He just went straight back and his head hit the ground. He just, he didn’t move. He didn’t even put his hands out to stop himself, he just hit the ground.’

She said Tompkinson came out of his house when police arrived and spoke to two officers before placing a bottle of Jagermeister at the feet of the man lying on the floor. Jurors have previously heard Tompkinson told police he had taken a bottle from the two men.

Asked if the two men made any aggressive actions towards her neighbour at any point, Davidson said they had not.

The court heard that after Poole had gone to the floor, former Wild At Heart actor Tompkinson used his mobile phone to record two separate clips of the two men but did not contact the ambulance service himself.

After Tompkinson was arrested, he told police he had gone out to ask the two men to move on, so they did not disturb his partner and her child, who were asleep in the house, Bunch said.

In Tompkinson’s interview, he told officers he acted in self-defence after the men had become ‘aggressive’ and moved towards him.

He denies the charge of GBH and the trial continues.

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