Stokes claimed he punched man for abusing gay couple, court hears
London - England cricketer Ben Stokes claimed he punched a man for abusing another individual "for being gay", his trial heard Wednesday.
Stokes, 27, is accused at Bristol Crown Court in southwest England for alleged affray, along with 27-year-old Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, 28.
Stokes, jurors heard, told police in a statement that he felt forced to defend himself because it was "two on to one" in the brawl with Ali and Hale.
The two gay men Stokes claimed he was defending, Kai Barry and William O'Connor, "thanked me for preventing them from being beaten up", the cricketer told police.
But off-duty police community support officer Mark Spure, who tried to break up the fight, told the court that Stokes "seemed to be the main aggressor".
Jurors have seen footage of Stokes talking to O'Connor and Barry outside the Bristol nightclub Mbargo in the early hours of September 25 last year.
The court has also been shown footage of Stokes brawling with Ali and Hale - who are friends - after walking away from the club.
Stokes allegedly knocked Hale unconscious, and then Ali.