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  1. ITV Report

Ben Stokes 'looking for someone to pick on' during nightclub fight

Ben Stokes and Ryan Ali both face a charge of affray. Credit: PA

England cricketer Ben Stokes "was very angry and looking for someone to pick on" when he knocked two men unconscious, a court has heard.

Ryan Ali, 28, said he was defending himself when he raised an upturned beer bottle and moved towards Stokes's international teammate Alex Hales before taking a swipe at a gay reveller with the bottle.

Ali and Stokes are both on trial for affray following a fight outside a Bristol nightclub in the early hours of 25 September last year.

Jurors at Bristol Crown Court were told that after Ali and his friend, Ryan Hale, left Mbargo nightclub they had had "banter" with two gay men, William O'Connor and Kai Barry.

Ryan Hale taking off his shirt to cushion the head of Ryan Ali. Credit: PA

Ali said: "I remember at some stage walking down that street, someone saying 'We are going home with them tonight.'

"Then someone else said 'No you're not' or words to that effect but they got quite irate when they said it."

He continued: "I recall we were in a group of four, having a laugh and having some banter and the next thing I remember is having a tall blonde man charging towards me.

"The next thing that I recall is walking in the road with my palms open, walking backwards, saying 'I don't want no trouble' or words to that effect."

Ryan Hale had a charge of affray against him dropped. Credit: PA

Ali's evidence came as both he and Stokes concluded their defences.

Earlier, 27-year-old Stokes denied "exaggerating" claims that Ali and Mr Hale were being homophobic before he fought them.

Giving evidence for a second day, Stokes said he could not remember the words used by Ali and Mr Hale when they were abusing the gay men.

He told the jury of six men and six women: "I can't remember the specific words used, but the manner in which Mr Hale and Mr Ali were speaking towards the two gentlemen was homophobic abuse.

"The temperature obviously rose as I started to intervene with what the two guys were saying towards Mr Barry and Mr O'Connor."

He described Ali as "aggressive and violent" towards himself, Mr Hales, Mr Barry and Mr O'Connor.

Describing his actions as self-defence, Stokes told jurors: "It's clearly in my statement that I admit to throwing multiple punches.

"At the time of that situation, I constantly felt under threat from Mr Ali."

Asked if he was hiding recollections of the night, he said: "No, all my actions were in self-defence and fearing for my safety."

Mr Hale was cleared of a charge of affray on Thursday.

The trial continues on Monday.