England cricketer was ‘spiteful and angry’ as he abused nightclub bouncer, court hears

England cricketer Ben Stokes was “spiteful and angry” as he abused a nightclub bouncer on the night he knocked two men out in a street brawl in Bristol, a court heard today.

Head doorman Andrew Cunningham told 27-year-old Stokes and his England teammate Alex Hales they could not re-enter Mbargo nightclub after the doors had closed at 2am.

It is said the two cricketers offered up to £300 to get back in, but when Mr Cunningham held firm Stokes began to insult his gold teeth and tattoos.

“He was quite spiteful and quite angry in tone,” said the doorman. “He mentioned my gold teeth first, and then he mentioned my tattoos and how ‘sh*t’ they all are.

“He just looked at me and told me my tattoos are sh*t and to look at my job.

“Obviously he wasn’t happy with it because I was keeping him out.”

Stokes is on trial alongside Ryan Hale, 27, and Ryan Aslam Ali, 28, all accused of affray in the early hours of September 25 last year.

body worn camera

It is said the cricket star also abused two “flamboyant” gay men, Kai Barry and William O’Connor, outside the club before the alleged fight began, mimicking their hand gestures, making “funny noises” and flicking a cigarette at Mr O’Connor.

Mr Cunningham, 37, who has visible tattoos under his left eye, on his neck, hands, and the back of his shaven head, said he’s “thick-skinned” and wasn’t fazed by the abuse. However, he stepped in when he saw Stokes abusing Mr O’Connor and Mr Barry.

The cricket star denies homophobia, arguing instead that he had been “laughing and joking” with the two gay men after they made fun of his attire.

“They have been taking the Mickey about his shoes,” said Gordon Cole QC, representing Stokes. “Mr Stokes, Mr Hales, Mr Barry, and Mr O’Connor are outside the door of Mbargo together, laughing and look to be joking. On the whole it presents a picture of four people together — it’s not homophobic behaviour, is it?”

Mr Cunningham also told the court he had no idea the cricketers were famous as he is “not a fan”, but that they had been “good as gold” earlier in the evening.

After the two were refused readmission by Mr Cunningham they eventually left the front of the club and Stokes allegedly got into a fight with Ali and Hale in the Clifton triangle area.

It is said Stokes tussled on the floor with Ali, who was clutching a bottle, and then “lost his control” as he continued to swing punches.

Ali was left with a fractured eye socket and was knocked out alongside Hale in the incident, which allegedly happened at around 2.30am.

Stokes, from Castle Eden in Durham, Hale and Ali, both from Bristol, have all pleaded not guilty to affray.

The trial continues.

Source – standard.co.uk



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