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Ben Stokes flicked cigarette butt at gay men after abusing bouncer, court told

The Durham cricketer is standing trial at Bristol Crown Court.

England cricketer Ben Stokes was abusive to a doorman before mocking two gay men leaving a nightclub and flicking a cigarette butt at them, a court heard.

The 27-year-old all-rounder is accused of affray in the Clifton triangle area of Bristol during the early hours of September 25 last year.

He is said to have attempted to bribe a doorman with £300 to gain entry into nightclub Mbargo with team-mate Alex Hales before becoming enraged.

Bristol Crown Court heard Stokes punched friends Ryan Ali, 28, and Ryan Hale, 27, unconscious after “charging” at them from across the road.

Mr Hales, who was interviewed under caution but never arrested in relation to the incident, allegedly stamped on and kicked Hale in the head as he lay on the floor.

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Mbargo nightclub doorman Andrew Cunningham (Ben Birchall/PA)

Ali and Hale are also standing trial accused of affray. Prosecutors allege that Ali used a bottle during the fight, while Hale fetched a metal pole.

Footage released by the court on Tuesday shows Stokes and Mr Hales apparently trying to bribe their way into Mbargo after being refused entry.

Doorman Andrew Cunningham, 37, said strict licensing laws meant he could not allow the cricketers in to the club as it was past 2am.

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CCTV still of England cricketers Ben Stokes (left) and Alex Hales outside the Mbargo nightclub (Avon and Somerset Police/PA)

They had been inside earlier with other members of the England cricket team, who had played the West Indies in a one-day international in Bristol the previous day.

Mr Cunningham, who has four gold front teeth and is heavily tattooed, told the jury: “The ginger one offered me £60 and asked me if that would get them in.

“He had a conversation with his friend and he said ‘£300 get us in’ and I still told them no. I told them I would not have a job to go back to in the morning.

“He (Stokes) got a bit verbally abusive towards myself. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like a c*** and I replied, ‘Thank you very much’.

“He mentioned my tattoos and how s*** they were. 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.”

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Mbargo nightclub in Bristol (Steve Parsons/PA)

Mr Cunningham, who has worked as a door supervisor for five years, claimed Stokes spoke to him in a “spiteful tone”.

The CCTV footage allegedly shows Stokes flicking a V-sign at Mr Cunningham after he refused the money.

Stephen Mooney, representing Hale, asked whether the cricketer’s “foul and abusive language” had changed his mind about letting him and Mr Hales inside.

The doorman replied that it did not and said the pair remained outside Mbargo.

Two gay men, William O’Connor and Kai Barry, then emerged from the nightclub and began talking to each other outside in an “extravagant” and “flamboyant” manner.

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Ben Stokes in action for England (Anthony Devlin/PA)

“The ginger guy picked up on this and started to take the mick out of them,” he told the jury.

“He started to mimic their actions. He didn’t speak, he just made noises to sound like them because if you hear them speak they are quite high-pitched guys.

“They are quite effeminate guys and their voices are different. He made noises to try to copy them, not saying anything, just making stupid noises.”

Mr Cunningham said Mr O’Connor and Mr Barry stood back while Stokes was “mocking” them.

He told the jury of six men and six women that he intervened when he saw Stokes flick a cigarette butt at Mr O’Connor and Mr Barry.

“I asked him ‘If you are going to start on someone start on me’,” he said.

“That’s when I stepped in because they hadn’t done anything wrong. If you want to vent your anger at someone, do it at me not them.”

The doorman said he explained what had happened to Mr Hales, who had not seen it, and he turned to Stokes and told him: ‘Stokesy – don’t do that’.

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Ryan Hale, left, and Ryan Ali arrive at Bristol Crown Court (Ben Birchall/PA)

Ali and Hale then left the nightclub and walked down the street with Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor.

Stokes and Mr Hales then also left the club area, with the defendant first attempting to shake hands with Mr Cunningham.

“If you verbally abuse me I have no reason to shake your hand,” the doorman told the jury.

He said this “annoyed” Stokes, who walked off with Mr Hales.

Gordon Cole QC, representing Stokes, suggested to Mr Cunningham that his client had not insulted his gold teeth.

Mr Cole said Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor had been engaging in “banter” with Stokes about his white trainers that had gold locks on them.

“No, they [Stokes and Mr Hales] were laughing at them not with them,” Mr Cunningham replied.

Mr Cole also suggested that Stokes had told the doorman “he had s*** tattoos too”, which he did not recall.

CCTV images show Stokes and Mr Hales catching up with Ali, Hale, Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor on a nearby street.

Stokes claims he was defending Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor after hearing Ali and Hale abuse them in a homophobic manner.

Film student Max Wilson, 21, recorded the alleged fracas from his bedroom window after hearing shouting for two to three minutes.

The court heard both Ali and Hale had bottles on them at the beginning of the incident, with Ali appearing to threaten Mr Hales with his.

Stokes is accused of punching Ali to the ground, with Mr Hales then kicking him on the head as he lay prostrate.

Stephen Mooney, representing Hale, asked Detective Constable Daniel Adams whether Mr Hales could be seen “stamping on” Ali in the footage.

Det Con Adams replied: “Yes, a stamp or a kick.”

Mr Mooney asked: “Ryan Hale has just been in a situation with Mr Stokes and Mr Ali.

“At the same time, Mr Hales has come in and used deliberate force with a shod foot, stamping down upon Ryan Ali to his body, then kicking him deliberately and in a considered fashion to his head?”

The officer answered: “He has definitely used his feet on three occasions.”

Mr Wilson told the jury he began filming as he believed a fight was about to break out, with six men below his window acting like “football hooligans”.

He was asked why he said “f***” after watching Stokes punch Hale to the ground.

“It was such a forceful punch. It just took me by surprise,” Mr Wilson said.

“I felt a little bit sorry about the lad that had been punched and it looked like he had his hands up.”

Lauren Sweeney, who was also living in the Queens Road area, told the court she dialled 999 after seeing Hale on the ground.

She said Hale got up and ran towards a road sign, pushed it over and snapped off one of the metal legs before running back towards the group of men.

“I didn’t think it was self-defence because they left him alone. When he ran towards them it was more than self defence as it was an aggressive run towards them,” she told the jury.

Ms Sweeney’s 999 call was played to the jury.

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.

The trial continues.

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