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England cricket star Ben Stokes admits 'significant memory blackout' on night of street brawl but denies being drunk

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 10/08/2018 Mark Duell

England cricket player Ben Stokes and his wife Clare arrive at Bristol Crown Court today (left) Ryan Ali arrives at Bristol Crown Court today (right) © Daily Mail England cricket player Ben Stokes and his wife Clare arrive at Bristol Crown Court today (left) Ryan Ali arrives at Bristol Crown Court today (right) 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.

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.

Video: Police release Ben Stokes arrest footage (Press Association)

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Today, prosecutor Nicholas 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.

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 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.'

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 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 the 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. 

England cricketer Ben Stokes and his wife Clare arrive at Bristol Crown Court accused of affray. © Press Association England cricketer Ben Stokes and his wife Clare arrive at Bristol Crown Court accused of affray. 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.

'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.' 

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Ben Stokes being questioned by Gordon Cole QC, in the stand at Bristol Crown Court, where he is accused of affray in the Clifton triangle area of Bristol during the early hours of September 25 last year. © Press Association Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Ben Stokes being questioned by Gordon Cole QC, in the stand at Bristol Crown Court, where he is accused of affray in the Clifton triangle area of Bristol during the early hours of September 25 last year. 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.

England cricketer Ben Stokes arrives at Bristol Crown Court accused of affray. © Press Association England cricketer Ben Stokes arrives at Bristol Crown Court accused of affray. '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'.'

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 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. 

'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. The trial continues.

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