1. ITV Report

England cricketer Ben Stokes stepped in after hearing homophobic abuse, court told

England cricketer Ben Stokes has told a jury he stepped in after hearing two revellers shout homophobic abuse at two gay men.

The all-rounder, 27, is accused of knocking out two friends, Ryan Hale, 27, and Ryan Ali, 28, during an alleged brawl in the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol on September 25 last year.

Stokes, who plays for Durham, is standing trial at Bristol Crown Court jointly accused of affray alongside Ali.

Hale was found not guilty of the same charge by the jury on the direction of the judge on Thursday.

Earlier bodycam footage of Stokes's arrest outside a Bristol nightclub was released, having been shown to the jury at Bristol Crown Court on Wednesday.

In the video, an arresting officer is seen saying to Stokes: "There's a guy over there covered in blood and I've been told you punched him."

The cricketer then replies to officers that he took action: "Because he abused my two friends for being gay."

The cricketer denied claims he mocked two gay men, Kai Barry and William O'Connor, outside the Mbargo nightclub and flicked a cigarette butt at them.

He insisted he had instead stepped in to protect Mr Barry and Mr O'Connor after hearing Mr Hale and Ali, who had a glass beer bottle, shout homophobic abuse at them.

"Mr Hale and Mr Ali were shouting homophobic comments towards these two and in return Mr O'Connor and Mr Barry were going back to them," Stokes told the jury.

"They weren't obviously going to let them say what they were saying. I stepped in. [I said] 'You shouldn't take the p*** because they are gay'.

"I was told by Mr Ali along the lines of 'Shut the f*** up or I will bottle you'.

"As soon as I see Mr Ali swing the bottle and physically hit them that's when I took the decision to get involved.

"I remember taking a swing at Mr Ali. I just remember (him) just coming towards me and I remember tussling around with him, I eventually fell to the floor."

In the police video released on Thursday, officers are seen confirming Stokes's personal details as he sits in the back of the police vehicle.

He is also heard repeatedly asking officers to loosen his handcuffs and queries whether there is CCTV footage in the area.

After it is confirmed there is, Stokes is heard to say "sweet".

Stokes is heard asking police officers to loosen his handcuffs. Credit: Police handout

Stokes asked PC Alway: "Is there going to be any sort of cameras around here? Have those two other guys gone? What about two other lads - gay guys?"

Alex Hales, Stokes's fellow cricketer, is seen telling PC Alway he did not witness the alleged fight.

"I came after you guys turned up," he says in the video.

Later, Hales says: "I feel bad. He's my best friend. I saw him after everything happened."

During his defence, Stokes told jurors he had not been drunk on the night out.

He also denied being abusive towards a bouncer at Mbargo nightclub.

"I didn't use the c-word towards him. I said to him 'Come on mate, I've got s*** tattoos as well, let us back in,'" he said.

He added: "I am constantly getting told by teammates and by who I play with that I have got s*** tattoos."

In court, Stokes denied mimicking two gay men at the club, saying: "No, absolutely not.

"The only comments between myself and the gay couple was what we had chosen to wear that night."

Ben Stokes (l) and Alex Hales seen outside of Mbargo nightclub. Credit: PA

Images released on Wednesday showed the injuries sustained by Ali and Hale after England beat the West Indies in a one-day international in Bristol.

Jurors were told Stokes mocked two gay men, Kai Barry and William O’Connor, outside the Mbargo nightclub and flicked a cigarette butt at them.

In a statement provided to police, Stokes denied both actions and insisted a fight began after hearing Ali and Hale being homophobic towards Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor.

Stokes said he acted in defence of himself, England teammate Hales and the two gay men at all times, adding that they thanked him for protecting them.

Ben Stokes stands accused of attacking Ryan Hale (left) and Ryan Ali. Credit: PA

Hale told detectives afterwards that Stokes "could have killed" him and Ali.

In an interview, played to jurors, he said: "It's the emotions of it all. The fact I've been attacked. Watching the video was shocking.

"I'm a dad. He could have killed me. I don't know why he didn't stop. You hear about it all the time - he could have.

"Just the way he was acting in the video, he could have beaten the living hell out of me.

"It's shocking to see someone doing that to someone who didn't do anything wrong.

"It's quite shocking to think that I've been put in a situation like that."

The three men fought outside of Mbargo nightclub. Credit: PA