Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Gay men thanked Ben Stokes for protecting them, court hears

Gay men thanked Ben Stokes for protecting them, court hears

Ben Stokes, 27 was today accused of "trying to provoke the two gay men" by a bouncer who claimed he was sworn at in an "angry and spiteful tone" after he refused him entry to a nightclub.

Stokes, the England cricketer who is standing trial for affray alongside Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, was also described as feeling "vulnerable and frightened" as the incident unfolded and claimed that, having seen at least one bottle used in the brawl, feared his opponents had "demonstrated a willingness to use weapons in attacking people".

The prosecution said Stokes told police he intervened with Ali and Hale because he overheard "nasty homophobic language", then told police he acted in self-defence when he thought he was about to be hit with a bottle.

Images released today show the injuries sustained by Ali and Hale after allegedly being attacked by Stokes, hours after England beat the West Indies in a one-day worldwide in the city.

PC Stacey Alway, who arrested Stokes, told the court: "From the moment I approached him (Stokes) he calmed down and was compliant".

All three defendants deny the charge.

"It was homophobic in nature".

Stokes' police interview at the time lasted 21 minutes, and involved two handwritten statements. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like [expletive] and I replied, "Thank you very much". He said the pair "scuffled" on the floor, before Hale grabbed him from behind.

"I didn't feel I had an option".

"As I was on my own, when I separated two of them more people carried on behind me".

"I grappled with the second guy, in the course of that I can recall hitting him a few times".

"I am clear that I felt under threat of immediate attack from both these men and I did what I did only in order to defend myself".

Hale, after seeing them verbally abuse two gay men, Kai Barry and William O'Connor.

The cricketer is missing England's upcoming second Test match with India at Lord's due to the trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Hale, who it is alleged was punched by Stokes in footage captured on a mobile phone and played to the jury on Tuesday, cycled to hospital later on Monday and was found to have sustained a 1.5 inch superficial laceration to his forehead.

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