Actor Stephen Tompkinson found not guilty of inflicting GBH, jury finds

Stephen Tompkinson was acquitted after standing trial at Newcastle Crown Court. Credit: PA

Actor Stephen Tompkinson has been found not guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm by punching a drunk man who was making noise outside his house.

The jury at Newcastle Crown Court returned the verdict on Thursday 11 May after a six-day trial.

The DCI Banks actor had been accused of punching Karl Poole after finding him and a friend drinking at the bottom of his driveway in the early hours of 30 May 2021.

Tompkinson nodded but showed no visible emotion when the verdict was announced, while a disappointed sigh could be heard from the public gallery, where Mr Poole was sitting.

Asked for his reaction as he was leaving court, Tompkinson told reporters: “I just want to go home.”

Tompkinson is now free to start his planned tour of new play Stumped, which will see him star as playwright Samuel Beckett. The first performance is set to take place in less than two weeks.

Newcastle Crown Court had heard Tompkinson, 57, had been disturbed by noise made by Mr Poole and a friend in the early hours of the morning.

Wearing pyjamas and a dressing gown, he went outside at 5:30am to speak to them.

A neighbour who watched the incident from her bedroom window told the court she saw Tompkinson slap and punch Mr Poole, but Tompkinson said he simply pushed the man away in self-defence.

Karl Poole leaving Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday 11 May. Credit: PA

Tompkinson told the court he has lost acting work since being charged and any association with him in the industry was “on hold” while the legal proceedings were hanging over him.

His lawyer had argued his profession made him less likely to assault anyone because it would be “career suicide”.

Following two hours of deliberations, the jury concluded the actor's actions had not amounted to grievous bodily harm.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...