Ben Stokes says he was defending his gay friends during street fight

Ben Stokes' injured hand The defence’s case for both Stokes and Ali opened this afternoon after the body-worn camera footage from arresting officer PC Stacey Alway was released to the media this morning. The video shows Stokes being handcuffed and placed in the back of a police vehicle and was played to the jury yesterday.  Stokes said he and Ali scuffled on the floor, with Hale – also with a bottle – then becoming involved. “At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others,” he claimed.“They were complete strangers. We knew that they were prepared to use weapons that could do serious injury and I feared they could have other weapons with them.”Hales initially told police he had not witnessed the brawl, the jury were told. Yesterday they heard Hales had stamped on Ali three times during the brawl. He was not charged.Stokes and Ali each deny affray. The trial, which continues, was due to run for a week. “I struck Ryan Ali with my right hand just after he had delivered the blow on Kai and as he came at me with the bottle and had it raised.” Stokes, 27, claims he was forced to knock out Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale out of “instinct” and because he was “vulnerable”, “frightened” and “felt the need to defend myself”.Key allegations from days one and twoStokes verbally abused doorman after refusing entry Stokes “mocked” gay men Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor England cricketer accused of flicking cigarette at themThey had mocked Stokes’ gold-encrusted trainersAli and Hale left the club and started talking to gay menMr Barry appeared to touch Ali’s groin inappropriatelySwinging a bottle, Ali made contact with Mr BarryStokes then charged at Ali and Hale, knocking them outHale “armed himself” with bottle and metal barDuring fracas, Alex Hales kicked Ali three timesStokes told police he was defending gay menAlex Hales was not charged for the incidentIn two statements to police, Stokes claimed violence erupted after he shouted at the pair for verbally abusing “flamboyant” Kai Barry and William O’Connor, who later thanked him for intervening.Stokes and Alex Hales, his England team-mate, were walking “calmly” towards a casino when they heard “homophobic” abuse aimed by Ali and Hale at the two men, Bristol Crown Court heard. Mr Cole told the court Wednesday: “He asked whether you could loosen the handcuff on his right hand? He said it was because it had been injured, not because of what happened but because he had three operations on it?”The officer replied: “Yes, that is correct.”Mr Cole asked: “You loosened the handcuff and he thanked you for it?” She replied: “Yes.” Ben Stokes on the night of the incident Stokes said he drank two pints and five vodka shots in the hours before the fight took place.Stokes said he and Hales decided to walk to a casino and headed down Queens Road, where they passed Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor, who were with Hale and Ali. “Although I can’t remember anything specific now, I do recall that the language being used was homophobic in nature and was being directed at Kai and William by Ryan Hale and Ryan Ali,” he said.”[They] were taller and broader than Kai and William. I noticed that they both had glass bottles in their hands…“What [they] were saying was far from harmless banter, it was nasty homophobic abuse.”When Stokes intervened, he said Ali attacked Hales with a bottle, then used it on Mr Barry.“I decided at this point matters had become too serious to ignore and that I had to intervene to stop Ryan Ali,” Stokes told police. Ben Stokes in the police vehicle Show more Ryan Hale, who was found not guilty of affray after a judge ordered the jury not to convict himCredit:Andrew Matthews/PA Ben Stokes on the night of the incident On Wednesday, the court heard Stokes told officers he punched his co-defendants – who were armed with bottles – in self-defence. He said he felt “under immediate threat of attack” from two bottle-wielding brawlers after he leapt to the defence of two men suffering “nasty homophobic abuse”, jurors were told. When he returned to the hotel he drank two or three pints of lager with a meal before heading out with his England teammates Liam Plunkett, Jonny Bairstow, James Anderson and Jake Ball. They headed to Mbargo, but told the court he wasn’t drunk. In the nightclub, he said he had five or six vodka and lemonades before leaving to go to Pryzm.  Stokes and Hales then decided to return to Mbargo, where doorman Andrew Cunningham told them they would not be allowed back in. “As soon as I decided to get involved… everything that I carried out… I felt under threat by these two and felt I had to do whatever it was to keep myself and others around me safe.” Ryan Hale (front) and Ryan Ali (back) leave Bristol Crown Court Ryan Hale, who was found not guilty of affray after a judge ordered the jury not to convict him England cricketer Ben Stokes and his wife Clare, arrives back at Bristol Crown CourtCredit:Andrew Matthews/PA The court heard how when she told him to leave Stokes, who had money to “make his own way home” Mr Hales replied: “I feel bad. He’s my best friend. I saw him after everything happened.”PC Alway told Mr Hales that Stokes had money on him and so would be able to get home after being released from custody.Mr Hales then asked Stokes: “I don’t want to go. Are you sure? I turned up after the whole thing.”PC Alway told Bristol Crown Court that she did not take Mr Hales’ details. “He told me that he didn’t witness anything so I didn’t ask him,” she said.Ryan Hale also features on the video, purportedly insisting he wasn’t going to press charges because “he (Stokes) hasn’t done anything to me”. He later returns to talk to PC Alway, and tells her that the incident was “just a bit of a scuffle”. Ryan Ali's injuries after the fight “My attire on that night got mentioned,” he said. “It was one of the gay couple. I get told by quite a lot of my teammates that I dress the worst in the team,” Stokes said.”We both exchanged comments about what one another were wearing.” Ryan Hale (front) and Ryan Ali (back) leave Bristol Crown CourtCredit:Peter Nicholls/Reuters Ben Stokes in the police vehicle Stokes told the court Thursday afternoon that after finishing a match against the West Indies in Bristol hours before the incident, he may have had a beer to celebrate the win, explaining it’s a team tradition to have one in the changing rooms after games.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The prosecution closed their case on Thursday morning with Hale’s statement to police. Jurors were told how the Afghanistan veteran, who is also a father, later told officers he thought Stokes was “going to kill him”. He claimed in the interview, the transcript of which was read out in court, that he had not done “anything wrong”, despite witnesses saying they saw him with a bottle and a metal bar during the fracas. Hale said: “He could have killed me. I don’t know why he didn’t stop. It’s shocking to see someone doing that to someone who didn’t do anything wrong.”I was the innocent bystander getting assaulted brutally for nothing, standing there with open fists being smacking around the place,” Hale said.”There’s no self-defence and he isn’t defending anyone else.” On Thursday morning, Ben Stokes had wished his England teammates luck ahead of the second Test at Lord’s as he prepared to giving evidence for the first time at his trial. Stokes denied mimicking the gay couple, and told jurors the exchange was “about the state of my shoes”. “The only comments between myself and the gay couple was what we had chosen to wear that night,” he said. The jurors watched the CCTV clip of what appears to be Stokes flicking a cigarette butt towards one of the gay men.”I don’t remember flicking a cigarette towards anyone,” he said, insisting there was “absolutely not” anything homophobic about the exchange.Talking of the fight, Stokes said: “I was protecting myself. I would say that I took a decision of what I did very quickly. As soon as this episode started I knew that not just myself, but other people could be a target of either of these two men.”One had already verbally told me what he would do if I didn’t ‘Shut the f— up’. He had ran at a close friend of mine with a bottle. Explaining the reason why the cricketer has been arrested, PC Alway can be heard on the video saying: “A guy over there was covered in blood and I’ve been told you punched him.”Stokes can be heard on the video replying: “Because he was abusing my two friends for being gay.”Gordon Cole QC, defending Stokes, asked PC Alway to confirm that his client was “calm and compliant” with her when he was arrested.Stokes appears to have a good relationship with the police officer, and the video ends with the pair joking about PC Alway briefly losing the sportsman’s driving licence.  Ben Stokes Injury after fight in Bristol The judge in the trial of Ben Stokes directed the jury to clear an ex-soldier of affray – based on evidence proving he never used a road sign that he picked up as a street fight escalated. Ryan Hale, 27, was jointly charged with affray along with Stokes, 27 and Ryan Ali, 28, but after the prosecution closed its case at Bristol Crown Court, the judge intervened. Judge Peter Blair QC told the jury: “I am directing you to find him not guilty in my analysis of the evidence.”Ryan Hale was formally found not guilty of the charge relating to the incident outside a Bristol nightclub and invited to leave the dock before Gordon Cole QC, defending Stokes, called his client to give evidence. Stokes denied the prosecution’s allegations that he mocked two gay men outside Mbargo and also denied that he had called a doorman who had refused him re-entry a “c—“. He told jurors how Ryan Hale and Ryan Ali, 28, walked out of the club and made homophobic remarks about Kai Barry and William O’Connor, who he was talking to outside the club. Stokes said when he defended the gay men, Ali said to him, “Shut the f— up or I’ll bottle you”. The cricketer said when Ali brandished a bottle and swung it, he decided to defend himself and those around him. Court sketch of Ben Stokes, who was asked to show his hand to the court to reveal his pre-existing cricket injuries  In what could be argued is the most important day in court for him, Stokes is having his say today having listened to three days of allegations put to jurors by the prosecution. Despite this, the Durham cricketer took to Instagram to post a message of support to the men due to take the field in his absence and singled out 20-year-old debutant Ollie Pope. Posting a picture of him celebrating with rookie Sam Curran, who impressed against India in the first Test, wrote: “Good luck to all the England cricket lads today and for the rest of the week. Always exciting seeing guys get their first opportunity, hope it goes for you well for you, Ollie Pope.”Surrey’s Pope has been brought in for the dropped Dawid Malan, while Stokes’ direct replacement will be a toss up depending on conditions between Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali. As they battle it out at The Home of Cricket, Stokes will be fighting his own tribulations 120 miles west in Bristol’s courtroom one. Stokes said he shouted “leave it out, you shouldn’t be taking the p–s because they are gay”, but Ali responded by saying “f— off or I’ll bottle you”.However, an off-duty police support officer told the court that Stokes was the “main aggressor” in the 2am brawl that left fire brigade worker Mr Ali “completely unable to move”. The all-rounder, 27, is missing the match which is due to start Thursday against the top ranked team in the world India due to the case of alleged affray against him being heard at Bristol Crown Court.  Court sketch of Ben Stokes, who was asked to show his hand to the court to reveal his pre-existing cricket injuries Credit:Elizabeth Cook/PA Ben Stokes' message to his England teammates on Instagram Ryan Ali’s injuries after the fight England cricketer Ben Stokes and his wife Clare, arrives back at Bristol Crown Court Ben Stokes’ injured hand Ben Stokes Injury after fight in Bristol The prosecution allege Stokes had called the doorman a c—, which he denied from the witness stand.  Stokes added: “I said to him, “Come on mate, I’ve got s— tattoos as well, let us back in’.”Mr Cole asked Stokes to explain the reference to tattoos and he replied: “I am constantly getting told by teammates and by who I play with that I have got s— tattoos.”Stokes denied flicking a cigarette butt at Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor or making a V-sign to Mr Cunningham or mentioning his gold front teeth.He said he been wearing black ripped jeans, a green t-shirt and white Buscemi high-top shoes with gold padlocks on the back. The footage taken from the camera she was wearing was played to the jury, alleging to show Stokes asking the arresting officer: “Is there going to be any sort of cameras around here?”He said: “Have those two other guys gone? What about two other lads – gay guys?”Teammate Alex Hales appears to tell PC Alway that he had not witnessed the alleged fight. “I came after you guys turned up,” he said. Ben Stokes’ message to his England teammates on InstagramCredit:Ben Stokes/Instagram read more