England cricketer Ben Stokes was behaving like a “football hooligan” as he punched an Afghanistan war veteran to the floor while the man “had his hands up” during a late-night street brawl in Bristol, a court heard.
Earlier in the evening, Ben Stokes had been mocked by two gay men for wearing bright white trainers encrusted with gold emblems, a jury was told.
Video played during the second day of Stokes’ trial for affray at Bristol crown court showed the 27-year-old delivering a knockout blow to the head of former serviceman Ryan Hale.
Stokes and his co-defendents deny the charges. Stokes is expected to give evidence on Thursday, with a verdict anticipated next week.
The court heard that the punch was administered with such force that student Max Wilson, who was filming the incident on his mobile phone from a flat three floors above, could be heard exclaiming “Fuck!” on the footage.
“It was such a fierce punch, it just took me by surprise,” Wilson told the jury. “I felt a bit sorry for the guy that got punched, he had his hands up.”
Wilson told the court a group of six men – including Stokes’ co-defendants Hale and firefighter Ryan Ali, also charged with affray – were behaving like football hooligans. He said he began filming the incident after hearing raised voices as he tried to get to sleep.
“They were clearly drunk,” he said. “They were all quite reared up and acting violently.”
Stokes’ fellow England cricketer Alex Hales also kicked or stamped on Ali at least once, said PC Daniel Adams, the lead investigator in the case, in response to a question from Hale’s counsel.
Hales was interviewed under caution but not arrested.
The court heard that Stokes had earlier become “aggressive” after being refused entry to Mbargo nightclub in the Clifton triangle area of Bristol city centre. He and a group of England teammates had been out celebrating victory over the West Indies in a match the previous day.
Andrew Cunningham, a doorman at the nightclub, told jurors that Stokes had mocked his appearance and made reference to his job in a derogatory manner after he refused an alleged £300 bribe when Stokes and Hales tried to gain access to the club after it had stopped letting people in for the evening.