England cricketer Ben Stokes claimed he punched a man for abusing another individual "for being gay", his trial heard Wednesday.Stokes, 27, is accused at Bristol Crown Court in southwest England for alleged affray, along with 27-year-old Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, 28.Stokes, jurors heard, told police in a statement that he felt forced to defend himself because it was "two on to one" in the brawl with Ali and Hale.
Stokes, who is standing trial for affray alongside Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, was described as "trying to get at another individual" by Mark Spure, an off-duty member of the police force, who witnessed part of the incident.
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.
CCTV footage has been released allegedly showing England cricketer Ben Stokes flicking a cigarette butt at two gay men. Stokes denies taunting them, telling police they "thanked me for preventing them from being beaten up".
Ali is alleged to have threatened Stokes' England teammate Alex Hales with a bottle during the incident, while Hale broke off a metal pole from a nearby road sign after being allegedly knocked out by Stokes.
PC Stacey Alway, who arrested Stokes, told the court: "From the moment I approached him (Stokes) he calmed down and was compliant".
"He had a conversation with his friend and he said "300 get us in" and I still told them no".
He added: "It was homophobic in nature".
"At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened". Hales said: "I feel bad. I was concerned for myself and others", he claimed.
"I chose to intervene and asked Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale to stop abusing Kai and William. As I was on my own, when I separated two of them more people carried on behind me", the statement continued.
"I grappled with the second guy, in the course of that I can recall hitting him a couple of times".
The all-rounder allegedly tried to imitate the mannerisms of William O'Connor and Kai Barry as they waited by the entrance to Mbargo night spot in Bristol.
Mr Cunningham refused to allow them back inside as it was past closing time, Bristol Crown Court heard.