Cricketer Ben Stokes says he was protecting gay couple during brawl

English cricketer Ben Stokes has given evidence in his trial over a violent altercation telling the court the incident occurred because he was protecting a gay couple.

The former Vice Captain of the English team is currently on trial in a British Court where he is charged with affray.

It is alleged that the all-rounder got into a sustained bout of violence with two other men outside a Bristol nightclub last September. All three men have are facing charges, and have pleaded not guilty.

The incident occurred several hours after England played a one-day match against the West Indies, fellow team member Alex Hales was also present at the nightclub when the incident occurred.

Earlier in the trial the court heard that Stokes and Hales has visited the Mbargo nightclub and left the premises at 00:46am. When they returned at 02:08 they were told the club was closed and they could not re-enter.

The prosecution said Stokes became aggressive towards the club’s security offer and insulted his appearance, before turning his attention two gay men who were nearby.

The cricketer is alleged to have mimicked the voices and mannerisms of Kai Barry and William O’Connor in what security guard Andrew Cunningham described as a “derogatory way”.

The cricketer later got into a altercation with Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 27 – both who were knocked unconscious by Stokes.

The court has now heard a statement from Stokes who denies the allegations. The cricketer said he’d made friends with the two gay men outside the club and stepped in to protect them when he heard Barry and O’Connor making homophobic remarks.

“As the group came to my attention, I heard some of what was being said,” he told police. “I recall that the language being used was homophobic in nature and was being directed at Kai and William by Ryan Hale and Ryan Ali.” Stokes told police last year.

“Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale were taller and broader than Kai and William. I noticed that they both had glass bottles in their hands.

“What Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale were saying was far from harmless banter, it was nasty homophobic abuse.”

Stokes said he intervened and told Ali and Hale “leave it out – you shouldn’t be taking the piss because they’re gay”. He claimed Ali replied: “Shut the fuck up and fuck off or I’ll bottle you.”

The court was shown CCTV footage which showed Stokes knocking out both men, but it also showed Hale kicking Ali during the confrontation.

Stokes told police in his statement the two gay men had thanked him for protecting them.

The trial continues. read more at The Mirror.

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