Actor Stephen Tompkinson has spoken for the first time about being found not guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm on a man outside his home.
Mr Tompkinson said his two-year ordeal was put into perspective by the experience of his former partner and actress Jessica Johnson, whose mum and step-dad were killed when a lorry ploughed into them on the motorway.
Elaine Sullivan, 59, and partner David Daglish, 57, were killed in the horror crash on the A1(M) in County Durham in July 2021, along with Paul Mullen, 51.
Mr Tompkinson said: “We were both doing Educating Rita at the time. It had been stopped because of Covid. Two days after that, Jess went, ‘No’… She went into this incredible mode and a few weeks later attended the double funeral of her mum and stepdad and then was back on stage that night in Kingston.
“If you ever needed an example of strength and a shining light, she has been that throughout and has looked after me through this and I’ll never be able to thank her enough.”
Following the crash, which injured three other people, Ion Onut was jailed for causing death by dangerous driving.
Onut had been looking at adult dating sites on his phone in the moments before he ploughed into stationary traffic at Bowburn.
The DCI Bank star and former Ballykissangel actor appeared on Lorraine to give his first TV interview since being found not guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
He told her about the incident outside his home in Whitley Bay, near Newcastle, in May 2021, which led to him standing trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
In his first TV interview since the five-day trial finished last week, he said: “It was about half five on a sunny morning at the end of May, a beautiful day and these two chaps turned up, one just in his underpants and socks.
“His friend who was also very dishevelled, incredibly unsteady. They were the definition of drunk and disorderly - several other people in the street had heard the commotion. They were swigging from a full sized bottle of Jagermeister, which you don’t find next to the Sherry or Port.”
He added: “They were in a heck of a state. It turns out the chap was four times over the drink drive limit, so I called the police. I was worried this bottle was going to break in the area where there’s a seven year old in the house who plays with her skateboard and bike.
"They didn’t seem to be horrible in any way, they were just carrying on. We’ve all been drunk now and again.”
Mr Tompkinson went on to say after asking the men to move on and letting them know he’d called the police, “They turned a bit nasty and turned on me.”
He added, “I stopped one of them with my open palm from advancing any further. Because of the state he was in, he took a tumble and fell about eight feet away from me, smacked the back of his head and got a very serious brain injury. Not a joking matter, that had to be investigated."
He added: “Another neighbour had thought that… I had the phone in my hand and I had a dark blue dressing gown, she thought she’d seen a clenched fist. She was 125 ft away and at a first floor window and saw me as the aggressor, which I wasn’t.”
He said the situation had to be investigated. “I thought to myself it could have been investigated a lot sooner and dealt with there and then, rather than waiting two years,” he added.
To watch the interview and show in full visit itv.com.
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