Ben Stokes’ Wife Sobs In Court As Cricket Ace Is Found Not Guilty Of Affray After Boozy Street Brawl


BEN Stokes’ wife sobbed in court today as the England cricketer was cleared of affray after a boozy street brawl.

Relieved Clare Ratcliffe wiped away tears as her sports star husband was found not guilty following a six-day trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Reuters Ben Stokes, 27, arrives at Bristol Crown Court with wife Clare Ratcliffe today

Stokes, 27, punched former soldier Ryan Hale, 27, and fireman Ryan Ali, 28, while on a night out in Bristol on September 25 last year.

He was also accused of mocking the “camp behaviour” of two gay men and flicking a cigarette butt at one of their heads.

Mr Ali, who was left with a black eye and a fractured socket, was also cleared of affray today.

Stokes claimed “all of his actions were in self-defence” and that he reacted because he was “fearing for his safety”.

Stokes punched two men during a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub

The court was shown footage of the fight

The cricket ace said he “constantly felt under threat” from Mr Ali and he described him as acting in an “aggressive and violent” way.

Today his wife Clare wiped away tears as a jury found Stokes not guilty of affray after two-and-a-half hours of deliberations.

The sports star tilted his head back in relief as the verdict was read out and could pave the way for a sensational call-up for England’s Third Test with India.

Stokes shook hands with Mr Ali when they left the dock.

Mr Ali’s solicitor said both defendants are “delighted” with the result.

AFP or licensors Co-accused Ryan Ali smiles as he leaves court after being cleared of affray

PA:Press Association Ali was left with a black eye and a fractured socket following the brawl

Jurors were shown CCTV footage on Friday which showed Stokes being refused entry to Mbargo nightclub because it was after 2am.

Nicholas Corsellis, prosecuting, asked him who he was speaking to when he was looking up at the night sky – to which Stokes replied: “God?”

Stokes had earlier admitted downing Jagerbombs and the jury heard he had at least 10 drinks while celebrating England’s win over the West Indies.

The court previously heard how the 6ft 2ins all-rounder “mimicked” gay men Kai Barry and William O’Connor outside a club.

Stokes denied “bullying” the couple, but bouncer Andrew said he was “laughing at them, not with them”.

He and teammate Alex Hales had been refused entry to the club by bouncer Andrew Cunningham, who claims Stokes insulted his gold teeth and “s**t” tattoos.

PA:Press Association Ryan Hale was left with a cut lift following the brawl

PA:Press Association Bodycam footage was released which showed the cricket star being arrested

PA:Press Association Police released a mugshot of Stokes on Wednesday New CCTV shows England cricketer Ben Stokes ‘tossing a cigarette butt at gay man before street fight’

Bouncer Andrew also claimed Stokes tried to bribe him with £300 in a failed attempt to gain entry into the club.

Nicholas Corsellis, prosecuting, told the jury on the opening day of Stokes’ trial that Ali and Ryan Hale needed hospital treatment after Stokes “lost control” during a brawl.

Video footage shows Stokes pursuing Hale, who is holding his hands out in defence, before punching him in the face and knocking him out.

The footage then shows Ali appearing to raise a bottle and strike Mr Barry with it.

Mr Corsellis said: “Mr Stokes lost his control and started to attack with revenge or retaliation in mind.

“He knocked Mr Hale unconscious and then, after enough time to pause for thought, did the same to Mr Ali, who received significant injuries.

“It was a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place.”

The CCTV footage also showed Stokes apparently flicking a cigarette end

PA:Press Association Stokes arriving at Bristol Crown Court today ahead of the verdict

Mr Corsellis said on the video Ali can be heard saying “Move away, move away,” Hale yelling “Stop, Stop!” and Alex Hales urging his friend: “Stokes, that’s enough!”

In his evidence, Durham star Stokes told the court he had reacted after Ali started “waving” a bottle around.

He said: “To start off with he had threatened me, he then ran at one of my friends with a bottle threatening to hit him. I was trying to stop Mr Ali doing damage to anyone with a glass bottle.

“I remember taking a punch at Mr Ali, both of us rolling around the floor.

“I remember someone else coming up behind me and grabbing at me.

News Group Newspapers Ltd Bouncer Andy Cunningham said Stokes mocked his tattoos and teeth and arrived at court to give evidence today

AP:Associated Press Stokes will miss England’s second Test with India which starts on Saturday

� Julia Quenzler Ben Stokes, Ryan Hale and Ryan Ali in the dock last week

“One had already told me what he would do. I felt under threat by these two. He had ran at a close friend of mine with a bottle.

“As soon as I decided to get involved I felt that I was under threat and what I did was in defence of myself.”

But the prosecutor has suggested Stokes has a “significant memory blackout” regarding the night in question.

Stokes, who denied being drunk despite having at least 10 drinks, replied: “You could say that, yes.”

Today, Mr Corsellis suggested Stokes had been lying in his evidence and told jurors he “moved way away from self defence and began to become the aggressor himself”.

The prosecutor also said the reason for the fight is unknown but a local who filmed the incident said the men were “acting like football hooligans”.

Audio of police 999 call made on night of incident involving cricketer Ben Stokes outside Mbargo nightclub in Bristol

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