Cricketer Ben Stokes ‘mocked gay couple’ before nightclub fight, jury hears

The cricketer Ben Stokes mocked two gay men, “mimicking their voices and mannerisms in a derogatory manner”, in an exchange captured on CCTV, Bristol crown court has heard.

A jury of seven men and five women was shown footage which the prosecution said depicted the Durham and England cricket star mocking the couple, Kai Barry and William O’Connor, and flicking the stub of a lit cigarette towards O’Connor’s head. Stokes denies a charge of affray relating to a fight later in the evening which left another man with a broken left eye socket. The prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis said that the incident, for which the firefighter Ryan Ali and the former serviceman Ryan Hale have also been charged with affray, was “not a moment of trivial unpleasantness, but a sustained episode of violence which left onlookers shocked”. Ali and Hale have also denied the charges. Bristol crown court heard on Monday that Stokes “lost his control” and acted way beyond the realms of self defence during a fight outside Mbargo nightclub in the early hours of Monday 25 September last year. Stokes had attended the nightclub together with the England captain Joe Root and teammates Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow after England’s ODI victory over the West Indies earlier in the day. Stokes and Hales left the nightclub at about 12.45am but returned to Mbargo at 2.08am.

The jury heard that they were refused entry and that Stokes attempted to bribe his way into the nightclub by offering the bouncer £60 and then £300. The jury heard that Stokes then insulted the doorman Andrew Cunningham, telling him: “Look at the state of your teeth” – in reference to his two gold front teeth – “They make you look like a cunt.” Stokes arrived at Bristol crown court just before 9am and was greeted by a throng of photographers. There were eight police officers guarding the gate as he exited a silver people carrier with blacked out windows in front of his wife, Clare Ratcliffe, with whom he has two young children, and his agent Neil Fairbrother. The all-rounder played a decisive role in England’s narrow Test victory over India at Edgbaston last week. The 27-year-old helped bowl England to a tense 31-run win, taking the key wicket of India’s star batsman Virat Kohli. Stokes celebrated his match-changing role at Edgbaston, which has been compared to some of the great pivotal moments in Test history, with a roar and a double fist pump in front of a 25,000 crowd. But by 10.30am on Monday, just three days later, the former England vice-captain sat glumly in the dock of courtroom number one. He changed his position from staring intently to sitting with crossed arms as the jury was told he had made a v-sign towards Cunningham after he was refused entry to the nightclub. Stokes, from Castle Eden, Durham; Ali, from Bristol; and Hale, from Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, are on bail. The case, which is expected to last up to seven days, continues.


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Olivia Williams
Olivia Williams was born and raised in London, England. She was a bookseller before shifting to Royal family coverage for UKCelebrityNews where she has worked on numerous stories. She lives in London city and is tall for no reason.