DCI Banks star Stephen Tompkinson’s talent made him “convincing in putting across a story”, the prosecution told jurors before they retired to consider their verdict.
Tompkinson is accused of punching a man who was drunk and making “strange noises” outside the actor’s home in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, around 5.30am on 30 May, 2021.
The 57-year-old allegedly “snapped” and “lashed out” at the complainant, Karl Poole, causing him to suffer a fractured skull when he fell and hit his head on the pavement, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
The Ballykissangel star came out of his home dressed in pyjamas and a dressing gown after discovering Mr Poole and his friend, Andrew Hall, drinking at the bottom of his driveway.
A neighbour who watched the incident from her bedroom window told the court she saw Tompkinson slap and punch Mr Poole.
But the actor said he simply pushed the man away in self defence.
Prosecutor Michael Bunch reminded the court how Tompkinson said punching a man would have been “career suicide”.
‘Expert playing a part’
Mr Bunch said Tompkinson’s “obvious talent makes him convincing in putting across a story,” adding: “He is an expert in playing a part – a man tormented by a pair of drunks.
“He can deliver a line,” Mr Bunch told the court.
Tompkinson said he was “disgusted” by Mr Poole and Mr Hall – describing their behaviour as “disgraceful” and “pure self-indulgence by grown men who should be behaving better”, jurors heard.
However Nicholas Lumley KC, defending Tompkinson, said he was “sought out by producers because of his calmness”.
“Why would he risk throwing away that hard-earned reputation?” he asked the jury.
Image: Karl Poole seen outside Newcastle Crown Court Punch ‘not enough to knock a sober man off his feet’
Mr Poole and Mr Hall had been drinking since midnight on 30 May and had gone to the beach before passing Tompkinson’s home on the way back.
The actor, who at the time was living with his partner and her seven-year-old son, went out to challenge the “heavily intoxicated” men – one of whom was wearing nothing but his underpants.
He called 999 after the men tried and failed to stand up while drinking from a bottle of Jagermeister, the court heard.
While waiting to be connected, he went outside to tell the men he was calling the police.
Image: Actor Stephen Tompkinson The actor said the pair “took great objection” to him complaining and began to move towards him.
He said he put his hand out to stop Mr Poole coming closer, making contact with his face – but it “wasn’t enough to knock a sober man off his feet”, the actor told jurors.
The judge, Paul Sloan KC, sent the jury out to consider their verdicts at 3.20pm on Wednesday.
They were sent home for the day an hour later and will resume their deliberations on Thursday.
Tompkinson denies a single charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
The trial continues.