Disgraced English cricketer Ben Stokes ridiculed a gay couple before brawling with two men outside a nightclub in Bristol, a court has been told.
Ben Stokes, 27 and born in New Zealand, has been accused of affray, or engaging in a public fight, outside of the BIrstol nightclub n September 2017 just weeks before heading to Australia for The Ashes.
Part of the incident was captured on CCTV which saw Stokes knock one of the men unconscious and ended his Australian tour before it began.
During court proceedings where Stokes and two other men Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale have all been charged with affray, Stokes claimed that he was acting in self-defence.
Following the fight, Stokes was initially hailed as a hero for defending a gay couple – Kai Barry and William O’Connor – from homophobic abuse on the night in question.
“We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero,” O’Connor told The Sun in October.
“Kai feared he could be attacked. If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.”
O’Connor added: “I’m not a fighter and we didn’t want a fight. We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.”
Evidence presented in court this week, however, alleged that Stokes himself was homophobic.
Bouncer Andrew Cunningham claimed that the dispute began when Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were not allowed back into the club in the early hours of the morning because it was closed.
Cunningham alleged that Stokes became aggressive towards him and then mocked two gay men outside the venue.
The Guardian reported that Cunningham claimed that the cricket star gestured at the “flamboyant, extrovert and openly gay young couple” and mimicked “their voices and mannerisms in a derogatory manner”
The case continues this week in London.
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