Sport England cricket star Ben Stokes tells court he wasn't angry but was 'talking to God when he looked at the night sky' after having Jaegerbombs, vodka and beers on night of street brawl

20:08  10 august  2018
20:08  10 august  2018 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Stokes arrives at court to face affray trial

  Stokes arrives at court to face affray trial England cricketer Ben Stokes arrived at court on Monday, where he will go on trial for affray. The all-rounder and two other men are jointly charged over a fracas in Bristol on September 25 last year -- several hours after England had played a one-day international against the West Indies in the city.Stokes, 27, and Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale all deny the charge.Wearing a blue suit and red tie, Stokes was driven to the city's Crown Court in a silver people-carrier and walked straight into the building flanked by the media.

ENGLAND cricket star Ben Stokes was looking up to the sky and speaking to God before he was involved in a street brawl , a court heard today. The 27-year-old all-rounder continued giving evidence on the fifth day of his affray trial at Bristol Crown Court .

Said he had Jaegerbombs , beers and vodka and lemonades in Bristol that night . England cricketer Ben Stokes today told his affray trial that he had found it difficult to remember what happened when he was involved in a street brawl .

a man and a woman walking down a street holding an umbrella© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

England cricketer Ben Stokes today told his affray trial that he had been looking up at the sky and talking to God after having at least ten drinks on the night of a street brawl.

The 27-year-old has already claimed that he fought off an 'attack with weapons' after coming to the aid of two gay men being abused in the street in Bristol.

The all-rounder said he was acting as peacemaker to protect two men he had just met when he feared for his safety and the scene descended into a brawl.

Stokes lashed out at Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 27 - knocking both men unconscious - in an act of self-defence, he told a jury, having confronted them over their 'nasty' homophobic language towards Kai Barry and William O'Connor.

Stokes 'lost control', court told

  Stokes 'lost control', court told Ben Stokes "lost control" and knocked two men unconscious in an alleged fight outside a Bristol nightclub, a court has heard.Ben Stokes "lost control" and knocked two men unconscious in an alleged fight outside a Bristol nightclub, a court has heard.

England cricketer Ben Stokes has told a jury he consumed “two or three” pints of beer and up to seven vodka drinks during a night out that allegedly ended in a punch-up. Giving evidence for the first time during his trial for affray, the

England cricketer Ben Stokes has denied being "really very drunk" and "enraged" when he knocked unconscious two men near a nightclub, a court has He then went into Bristol city centre with his England team-mates and had five or six vodka and lemonades and "possibly" some Jaegerbombs .

Prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis suggested to Stokes that he had been angry, shouted and pointed at bouncer Andrew Cunningham who had refused to shake his hand.

He asked him if he had been angry in CCTV scenes of the incident shown to the court.

'I don't think you can tell if I'm angry,' Stokes replied.

When the prosecutor asked what Stokes was looking at in the footage, he said: 'I might just be looking at the night sky.'

Mr Corsellis said: 'Who were you speaking to when you were looking at the night sky?'  Stokes replied: 'God?'

Stokes takes down his umbrella after arriving at court for the continuation of his trial today© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Stokes takes down his umbrella after arriving at court for the continuation of his trial today

Mr Corsellis asked: 'Mr Stokes, you are just in front of the jury, trying to cover up your actions. You know you were angry and this CCTV was you looking angry, isn't it?'  Stokes answered: 'No.'

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Stokes said he would have had a bottle of beer after the match, two or three pints at the hotel, five or six vodka and lemonades and then "potentially had some Jaegerbombs " in Mbargo. "I might just be looking at the night sky ," he said.

ENGLAND cricket star Ben Stokes yesterday insisted he only attacked two men to stop them abusing a gay couple. In his evidence, Durham star Stokes told the court he had reacted after Ali started “waving” a bottle around.

Mr Corsellis suggested to him at Bristol Crown Court: 'Mr Stokes, you seem to have a really significant memory blackout.'

He replied: 'You could say that, yes'.

Giving evidence for a second day today, Stokes told the jury that he would have had at least ten drinks that night.

He said these were a bottle of beer after the game, two or three pints back at the hotel with a meal and five or six vodka and lemonades while out in Bristol.

'I recall I potentially had some Jaegerbombs in Mbargo,' Stokes told the jury.

Mr Corsellis suggested to Stokes that he could not remember exactly what happened because he was 'actually really very drunk'. But Stokes replied: 'No.'

Under cross-examination, Stokes said that he intervened because Ali and Hale had directed homophobic abuse at Mr O'Connor and Mr Barry, but could not say what those words were.

a couple of people that are standing in the rain holding an umbrella: Stokes has been watched by his wife Clare from the front row of the public gallery in court© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Stokes has been watched by his wife Clare from the front row of the public gallery in court

Ben Stokes was calm, relaxed and in control before brawl, says teammate Jake Ball

England cricketer Jake Ball has described his teammate Ben Stokes as 'in a good mood' before he allegedly knocked two men unconscious.

Stokes inspires England to victory

  Stokes inspires England to victory Ben Stokes took the crucial wicket of Virat Kohli as England wrapped up a 31-run win over India in an enthralling first Test.With the crowd up, Stokes sensed an opportunity and three balls later he nicked out Mohammed Shami to leave England two wickets from victory.

Asked if he was telling the truth about the amount of alcohol he had on the night of the fight, he "could have had a few Jaegerbombs " inside Mbargo, in addition to the beer and vodka he previously said he had .

England cricketer Ben Stokes has denied being "really very drunk" and "enraged" when he knocked unconscious two revellers near a nightclub, a court has He then went into Bristol city centre with his England teammates and had five or six vodka and lemonades and "possibly" some Jaegerbombs .

A statement by the 27-year-old, who also represents Nottinghamshire, was read to Bristol Crown Court by Stokes' barrister Gordon Cole QC.

Mr Ball said he was in Bristol in September last year as part of the one-day international England squad against the West Indies.

He did not play but watched the game and described how Stokes had done well in it.

'After the game, Ben was in a good mood,' Mr Ball's statement said.

'The whole squad was in good spirits and it was business as usual after the game.'

Some members of the squad who lived locally and in London returned home but others stayed in Bristol.

'In the early evening, a few of us including Ben went to the hotel bar for drinks,' Mr Ball said. 'Some of the team had a meal. We all had two to three drinks in the hotel.'

Mr Ball, along with Stokes, Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett and James Anderson left the hotel at 11.25pm to celebrate the win.

They arrived at Mbargo a short time later and were 'chatting about cricket and the match', Mr Ball said. 'It wasn't a wild night out,' his statement said.

At 12.45am, Stokes, Mr Hales, Mr Anderson and Mr Ball left Mbargo and went to another club called Pryzm. About ten minutes later, Mr Ball returned to his hotel on his own as he was tired.

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ENGLAND cricket star Ben Stokes downed at least six vodka lemonades and lager before knocking two people out in a street brawl , a court heard today. The 27-year-old told jurors he wasn ' t drunk after he went out to celebrate England 's one-day win over the West Indies.

Police. England Cricket Team. Ben Stokes today faced claims he was "really very drunk" and "over-exaggerated" any homophobic abuse against two camp revellers in a bid to justify launching a barrage of punches in a street fight.

'When I left Ben, I seem to recall he was sat in a booth with Alex and James, still chatting about the cricket and the match earlier in the day,' Mr Ball said.

'He was chilled out. I would not say that Ben was drunk, he was calm, relaxed and controlled. He certainly was not looking for trouble. He was in good spirits after the win, we all were.'

Mr Corsellis asked: 'You don't remember any of the words of the homophobic abuse that you assert took place.'

Stokes replied: 'I am very clear that the words that were used were homophobic.'

The prosecutor said: 'You don't really remember significant parts of this incident, for example knocking Mr Ali out? Is that because you were really very drunk?' Stokes replied: 'No.'

Mr Corsellis asked: 'Your lack of memory might be down to something else. You weren't actually hit that evening, you weren't struck to the head, you had no injury to the lip, forehead, eye or head?'

Stokes replied: 'My injuries were nothing compared to Mr Ali.'

The prosecutor went on: 'It is not a question of you memory being affected by injury, you were uninjured from the cricket match you played that day.

'You didn't suffer from memory loss problems, so how can you not remember striking Mr Ali with such force rendering him unconscious?'

Stokes replied: 'I think the whole incident would have been clouded because it was such... there was a lot of people around... a lot of shouting.

Stokes 'could have killed me', court hears

  Stokes 'could have killed me', court hears Ryan Hale told police he believed Ben Stokes "could have killed him" in an incident outside a local nightclub, Bristol Crown Court heard on Thursday. Stokes, 27, is on trial for affray, along with Hale, also 27, and 28-year-old Ryan Ali after all three were charged over an incident in the Clifton Triangle area of the city on September 25 last year.The England all-rounder is alleged to have knocked Hale out during the fracas near the Mbargo nightclub.All three deny the joint charge.

The all-rounder is being cross-examined by prosecutors at Bristol Crown Court on the fifth day of his trial over affray allegations, which he denies. The 27-year-old England star is accused of punching two friends, Ryan Hale, 27, and Ryan Ali, 28, outside the Mbargo club on September 25 last year.

CRICKET star Ben Stokes downed at least eight vodkas and more than three pints of beer on the night he knocked out two men in a street brawl , a court heard yesterday. By John Twomey.

'I don't remember every little detail which has gone on that night.'

The cricketer told the court he had not mocked or been homophobic towards Mr Barry and Mr O'Connor. He said he could not remember flicking his cigarette butt at them or knocking Ali unconscious a short time later.

Stokes insisted Ali was aggressive and homophobic towards Mr O'Connor and Mr Barry.

'He was aggressive and violent towards me in what he said but he was definitely verbally aggressive with Mr Barry and Mr O'Connor,' Stokes said. 'It's clearly in my statement that I admit to throwing multiple punches. At the time of that situation, I constantly felt under threat from Mr Ali.'

Stokes was asked about what Ali was doing in the moments before he knocked him out and he said he could not remember.

Mr Corsellis asked: 'Is it because you are hiding behind your lack of recollection because you know full well you carried out a retaliatory attack upon those two men, first Mr Hale and then Mr Ali?'

Stokes replied: 'No, all my actions were in self-defence and fearing for my safety.'

a man wearing a wet suit standing on a sidewalk: Ryan Ali arrives at Bristol Crown Court today© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Ryan Ali arrives at Bristol Crown Court today

Mr Corsellis asked Stokes if he had a 'significant memory blackout' from the night in question. Stokes replied: 'You could say that, yes.'

Mr Corsellis suggested that Stokes's eyes were 'glazed' and his speech was slurred in the footage recorded on a body camera worn by a police officer when he was arrested, which the cricketer denied.

Stokes denied being out on a 'mission' and said what he wanted that evening was a 'good night' with his England teammates.

Call for security guards at schools after WA girl's jaw broken in brawl

  Call for security guards at schools after WA girl's jaw broken in brawl There are calls for security guards to be placed on the grounds of a school in Perth’s north, after a shocking brawl that ended with the mother of a student being bashed. Mobile phone video shows dozens of children fighting outside Butler College and when a mother tries to break it up, some push her up against a car. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd A 15-year-old student who was assaulted in the fight, while trying to protect a year seven student.

England cricketer Ben Stokes ridiculed a nightclub doorman’s gold teeth before fighting with two other men on a night out in Bristol, a court has heard. The all-rounder also tried to bribe the bouncer to get into the club, jurors were told .

He just looked at me and told me my tattoos were s*** and to look at my job, which he obviously wasn ' t happy about for keeping him out." When asked what sort of tone Stokes was addressing him in, Mr Cunningham replied: "Quite a spiteful tone, quite an angry tone."

'When we were trying to get back into Mbargo, I could not have been able to tell you how the night would have ended up,' he told Mr Corsellis.

Mr Corsellis asked Stokes to tell the jury of six men and six women what homophobic abuse he heard shouted at Mr Barry and Mr O'Connor.

'As I said, I can't recollect anything specific but I'm very clear that the words being used were of a homophobic nature,' Stokes said.

Mr Corsellis asked: 'On the day of your arrest you were saying it was homophobic abuse.

'You had your solicitor draft a letter where it was amplified to nasty homophobic abuse.

'It has been nine months since the incident. You have, I'm sure, thought of this constantly. Please, can you help the jury of what you mean and what was said?'

Ben Stokes posing for the camera: Ben Stokes (pictured) and Ryan Ali are both facing court© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Ben Stokes (pictured) and Ryan Ali are both facing court

Ryan Ali: I'd have had six or seven JD & Cokes before leaving the club

Giving evidence, Ryan Ali said he had been out with Ryan Hale to celebrate his friend's promotion at work.

Ali said he would have been drinking Jack Daniel's and Coke and during the course of the night, he would have drank six or seven before leaving Mbargo.

He told jurors that his memory of the evening was 'incomplete' because of the head injury he suffered when he was knocked out.

Ali described the 'banter' between him and Mr Hale and the gay men, Mr O'Connor and Mr Barry, as they walked away from the nightclub.

'I remember at some stage walking down that street, someone saying 'We are going home with them tonight',' Ali said. 'Then someone else said 'No you're not' or words to that effect but they got quite irate when they said it.

'I recall we were in a group of four, having a laugh and having some banter and the next thing I remember is having a tall blonde man charging towards me.'

Ali said: 'The next thing that I recall is walking in the road with my palms open, walking backwards, saying 'I don't want no trouble' or words to that effect. I could see the same male that I saw charging towards me previously still charging towards me.

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ENGLAND cricket star Ben Stokes warned two men not to "take the p***" out of a gay couple before he took a swing, a court heard today. The 27-year-old, who was accused of being the "main aggressor" in the brawl , today told jurors he wasn ' t drunk after he downed six vodka lemonades

'I just didn't want any trouble so I was backing away, trying to retreat. At that point, I recall seeing Ryan to my righthand side, unconscious on the floor.

'I have a memory of calming down Mr Stokes. I recall trying to calm him down. I thought I did because he turned away from me. He then turned his attention away from me and turns to Ryan Hale who is unconscious on the floor.

'I saw that as an opportunity to try to restrain Mr Stokes from attacking my friend, who couldn't defend himself. As Mr Stokes's back was turned away from me, I saw that as an opportunity to get behind him. I used my right arm around his neck and my left arm to grab his left hand so I could pull him against me to try to restrain him.'

Anna Midgley, representing Ali, asked him why - as captured on the CCTV - he moves towards Mr Hales with the bottle and then takes a swing at Mr Barry.

'I believe it would be a difficult decision for me to take, to turn a bottle into an offensive weapon,' Ali replied. 'I would have to perceive a significant threat to do that. I can hear myself saying 'Move away'.'

Ali told the jury he is still under the care of a maxillofacial surgeon.

'I still get double vision when I look around,' Ali told the court. 'I get floaters and my eye goes blurry quite a lot so I have to blink to re-focus.'

Under-cross examination from Gordon Cole QC, representing Stokes, Ali denied that Mr O'Connor and Mr Barry were 'being a bit of a nuisance' as they walked away from Mbargo, and were getting 'irate' with them. 'I wouldn't say they were. We were having a good laugh with them,' Ali replied.

Mr Corsellis asked Ali why Stokes ran towards him that night.

Ali replied: 'I have no idea. I can get my own perception from watching the evidence. All the CCTV put together... I have my own idea... he was very angry and looking for someone to pick on.'

The defendant said he did not remember swinging the bottle at Mr Barry.

'I am perceiving a significant threat, I might be on my own, Mr Barry is on my right-hand side and I didn't know who it was... I have a hand in my face,' he said. 'Mr Barry was not threatening you with unlawful violence,' Mr Corsellis said.

'I suggest to you that the use of that bottle against Mr Barry was wholly uncalled for.'

Ali replied: 'I don't believe so.'

Stokes replied: 'I can't remember specific words, no.'

Mr Corsellis asked: 'Is the case that nasty homophobic abuse was not being cast towards Mr O'Connor and Mr Barry?'

Stokes said: 'No, it definitely was.'

The prosecutor asked Stokes what he had said to Ali and Mr Hale prior to the confrontation and what they had said in reply.

Stokes insisted Ali told him to 'Shut the f*** up or I'll bottle you' after he told him to stop verbally abusing Mr O'Connor and Mr Barry.

Mr Corsellis asked: 'Was it the case that you decided in the state you were in you were going to seek confrontation with Mr Ali and Mr Hale because that's what you wanted to do?' Stokes replied: 'Absolutely not.'

Mr Corsellis asked Stokes about the footage recorded by student Max Wilson, which showed part of the alleged fight in which Alex Hales can repeatedly be heard shouting 'Stokes'.

'Was he shouting at you because everybody wanted you to stop,' Mr Corsellis asked.

Stokes said he did not hear Mr Hales calling his name or trying to hold him back from confronting Ali.

'You were asked yesterday by Mr Cole was there any stage in the incident you were enraged?' Mr Corsellis asked.

Stokes replied: 'Throughout this whole incident my whole focus was where Mr Ali was and where Mr Hale was, from the moment I was verbally threatened and my friend Alex was run at with a glass bottle.'

Mr Corsellis asked: 'Were you enraged?' Stokes replied: 'No, at this time my sole focus was to protect myself.'

Mr Corsellis asked: 'However this incident started, when you saw Mr Ali had a bottle and that he was threatening to Alex Hales and hit Kai Barry on the shoulder, you decided to get involved and after you had been on the ground and he (Mr Ali) disarmed you thought, 'I am going to show you what violence is' and you thought, 'I am going to retaliate and I am going to punish you and hit you out of revenge'. Is that not the truth?'

Stokes replied: 'Absolutely not.'

Mr Corsellis asked: 'Is it what we see on the footage - an angry man who has lost all control?' Stokes replied: 'Absolutely not.'

Yesterday, the cricketer told Bristol Crown Court: 'I initially got involved with a verbal altercation which then turned into an attack which did involve weapons – a glass bottle was used as a weapon – which then turned into a fight.

'Throughout the whole time that I was using any force, it was in a complete belief that these two gentlemen – who I had never met before – were willing to use weapons again as they had already.

'I didn't know ... they could be carrying more weapons on them. They could decide to attack me at any time if I was to turn my back on either of these two.

'While these two were in front of me I wasn't going to let any opportunity to let these two individuals have that opportunity towards me. At all times I felt under threat from these two.'

Having been denied entry to a Bristol nightclub, Stokes and his England teammate Alex Hales – out celebrating a team win – started walking to a casino, the court heard.

They encountered Hale and Ali around the corner. Stokes claimed he overheard them using homophobic language against Mr Barry and Mr O'Connor, although he couldn't remember the words used.

As he was quizzed on the night of the brawl, Stokes told a police officer he had intervened after seeing someone 'abusing my two friends for being gay'.

He told the jury yesterday: 'Mr Hale and Mr Ali were shouting homophobic comments towards these two and in return Mr O'Connor and Mr Barry were going back to them.

a person in a suit and tie: Stokes took the stand yesterday and said he had not been drunk, aggressive or homophobic© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Stokes took the stand yesterday and said he had not been drunk, aggressive or homophobic

'They weren't obviously going to let them say what they were saying. I stepped in. [I said] 'you shouldn't take the p*** because they are gay'. I was told by Mr Ali along the lines of 'shut the f*** up or I will bottle you'.

'As soon as I see Mr Ali swing the bottle at someone and physically hit them with it, that's when I took the decision that I needed to get involved.

'I took a swing at Mr Ali. He had run past one of my friends, with the bottle, attempting to hit him and then actually struck someone with the bottle.

'I was trying to stop Mr Ali from doing damage to anyone with a glass bottle.'

Stokes denied taunting Mr Barry and Mr O'Connor, insisting he was the one being mocked for his designer trainers and his admitted questionable fashion sense.

The prosecution has accused Stokes of mimicking the flamboyant pair's 'camp' mannerisms minutes before he 'lost control' and the brawl broke out.

Jurors were yesterday shown the Buscemi high-top trainers that Stokes was wearing in the early hours of September 25 last year.

The white Italian leather shoes, which feature a gold padlock on each heel, were held aloft by defence solicitor Gordon Cole QC.

Stokes, a father of two who plays county cricket for Durham, told jurors: 'My attire on that night got mentioned. It was one of the gay couple.

a group of people posing for the camera: Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were together (pictured on the night) after celebrating with the England cricket team, who had just beaten the West Indies in a one-day international© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were together (pictured on the night) after celebrating with the England cricket team, who had just beaten the West Indies in a one-day international

'I get told by quite a lot of my teammates that I dress the worst in the team. We both exchanged comments about what one another were wearing.'

Wearing a white shirt with a light blue shirt and tie as he took the stand yesterday, Stokes was watched by wife Clare Ratcliffe from the front row of the public gallery.

Stokes said he drank at least ten alcoholic drinks on the night of the incident, including two or three pints of lager and at least seven vodka-lemonades.

Asked by Mr Cole if he was homophobic, Stokes said: 'No, absolutely not. The only comments between myself and the gay couple was what we had chosen to wear that night.'

He also denied humiliating nightclub doorman Andrew Cunningham, who said he and Hales couldn't come in, adding: 'I didn't use the c-word towards him. I said to him 'come on mate, I've got s*** tattoos as well, let us back in'.'

Mr Cole asked Stokes: 'At any stage had you become enraged for any reason at all in the incident you had been involved with, from leaving Mbargo?'

Stokes replied: 'I find it a difficult question to answer.'

He also said he could not remember who he contacted following his arrest. He told jurors: 'I was stuck in a bit of a problem as I wasn't sure who was the best person to contact.

a cricket player during a game: Stokes starred in the cricket last week (pictured) as England beat India at Edgbaston© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Stokes starred in the cricket last week (pictured) as England beat India at Edgbaston

'Being a cricket player, I have a manager who looks after my stuff. I also had a fiancee who I was pretty sure needed to be contacted. I can't actually remember who was contacted.'

Stokes, of Castle Eden, Durham, and Ali, of Bristol, both deny affray. The judge yesterday directed jurors to find Hale not guilty.

Today, Judge Peter Blair QC adjourned proceedings until Monday morning.

He told the jury they would be hearing closing speeches on Monday morning from the advocates before he begins to sum up the case.

The trial continues.

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