Ben Stokes 'was main aggressor in nightclub fight'

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Ben Stokes, 27 was today accused of "trying to provoke the two gay men" by a bouncer who claimed he was sworn at in an "angry and spiteful tone" after he refused him entry to a nightclub.

Previously, a jury heard that the England all-rounder had knocked unconscious Ryan Hale, 27, and Ryan Ali, 28, during an alleged altercation in the early hours of Monday 25 September 2018.

Witness Mark Spure, an off-duty police community support officer (PCSO), said that after he left Mbargo nightclub he spotted "three to five" people involved in a "scuffle" on a nearby street.

PC Stacey Alway told the court that as she walked over to Mr. Stokes, she said: "A guy over there was covered in blood and I've been told you punched him".

He also denied flicking his lit cigarette end in the suggested manner at a gay man's head outside the club.

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The jury was also shown CCTV footage that, it was alleged by the prosecution, shows Hale running back towards the main group with a length of metal.

He identified Stokes to attending police officers, who arrested him.

She told the court the cricketer had been "squaring up" to a group of men at the side of the road as she approached them.

"While I was trying to stop the fighting, one struck the other with a clenched fist and he fell to the floor", Spure said.

"I felt the need to defend myself".

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"They were complete strangers".

"Both Kai and William thanked me for preventing them from being beaten up".

Hale cycled to hospital, where he was found to have bruising and a 1.5in superficial laceration to his forehead consistent with blunt trauma.

"I was anxious it might be two on to one and I knew one had had a bottle", Stokes told police.

"Amongst other things, Ryan Ali attacked Alex and Kai with a weapon".

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"I did not know Ryan Hale or Ryan Ali and I was forced to make a decision as to how far they would be prepared to go and what they might do if they got the upper hand". Stokes, of Stockton Road, Castle Eden, Durham; Ali, of Forest Road, Bristol; and Hale, of Burghill Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, each deny a joint charge of affray. "As I was on my own, when I separated two of them more people carried on behind me", the statement continued.