Actor Stephen Tompkinson slapped and punched a man who was drunk and making noise outside his home, leaving him with traumatic brain injuries, a court has heard.
The 57-year-old, best known for shows including Ballykissangel and DCI Banks, is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm in the early hours of 30 May 2021.
Tompkinson denies the charge and previously told police he acted in self-defence.
On the first day of the trial, prosecutor Michael Bunch told the jury that police were made aware of an incident when Tompkinson called at about 5.30am to report two drunken men outside his house in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.
The actor told officers he had taken a bottle of Jagermeister from the pair and wanted them “moved on”, the court was told.
About half an hour later, emergency services received a call from neighbour Caroline Davidson, who said she watched the incident from her bedroom window. She reported that one of the two men, Karl Poole, was lying unconscious in the street.
Mrs Davidson later told officers she saw Tompkinson slap Mr Poole with his right hand before punching his head with his left fist. Mr Poole stumbled and fell backwards, striking his head, she said.
Mr Poole and his friend Andrew Hall had been drinking since about midnight and were walking back to Mr Hall’s house from the beach, passing Tompkinson’s home on the way, Mr Bunch told the court.
The noise of the two men “laughing and carrying on” woke Mrs Davidson, who looked out of her window to see them lying on a path near Tompkinson’s home.
“She could see that one, later found to be Mr Poole, had on only his underpants, with a towel lying on the path next to him,” the prosecutor said.
Mrs Davidson went back to bed but looked out her window again when she heard another voice about five minutes later, the court heard. She then saw the defendant standing on his driveway speaking to the two men.
“Although she could not hear what her neighbour was saying, Mrs Davidson formed the view, from his hand gestures, that [Tompkinson] was telling the two men to get on their way,” Mr Bunch said.
“It appeared that one of the men said something back and Mrs Davidson saw her neighbour draw back his fist, before apparently thinking better of it and lowering his hand.
“The two men, who were obviously heavily drunk, tried to get to their feet, but Mr Poole could hardly stay upright, and Mr Hall had to help him keep his feet.
“The two made their way a short distance before stopping, possibly because the defendant had said something further to them.
“Mrs Davidson watched as the defendant approached the two men, who were wobbling from side to side. The defendant first slapped Mr Poole with his right hand before punching him to the head with his left fist.
“Mr Poole stumbled and then fell backwards striking his head on the roadway, where he lay unconscious. Concerned for what she had seen, Mrs Davidson asked her husband to call the ambulance service.”
Tompkinson then used his phone to record clips of the two men, but did not contact paramedics himself, the court heard.
Actor claimed he acted in self-defence
Jurors were told that after being taken to hospital, Mr Poole was found to have a fractured skull and significant traumatic brain injuries.
Following his arrest, Tompkinson told officers he had gone outside to ask the men to move away so as not to disturb his partner and her child, who were asleep, Mr Bunch said.
He said he acted in self-defence as the men had become “aggressive”.
However, the allegation of aggressive behaviour by the two men “is simply not supported by any of the evidence in the case”, Mr Bunch claimed.
“The truth is that the defendant’s story is nothing more than a weak attempt by him to deflect blame on to others for what were his wholly unjustified aggressive actions towards Mr Poole,” he added.
Tompkinson rose to fame starring as Father Peter Clifford in Ballykissangel from 1996 to 1998 and also appeared in the hit 1996 film Brassed Off alongside Ewan McGregor and the late Pete Postlethwaite, after his breakthrough role in political satire Drop The Dead Donkey early in the 1990s.
He starred as DCI Alan Banks in ITV’s DCI Banks from 2010 to 2016, with other TV credits including Wild At Heart, Minder, New Tricks and The Bay.
The trial continues.