England batsman Alex Hales told police he had not witnessed the Ben Stokes street brawl, despite being filmed kicking a fire brigade worker in the head, a court heard on Wednesday.
The Nottinghamshire opener claimed “I feel bad” for “my best friend” Stokes as he told officers on the scene that he had arrived “after you guys turned up”.
Footage of the exchange outside a Bristol nightclub in September last year was filmed on PC Stacey Alway’s body camera as she tried to usher Hales away from Stokes after the all-rounder had been arrested.
When she told Hales to leave, he replied: “I saw him after everything happened.” Hales then walked away from the scene and got in a taxi, the jury were told. The previous day, however, jurors had watched footage apparently showing Hales, 29, kicking Ryan Ali three times as he lay in a gutter after the 2am brawl.
Hales is not on trial with Stokes, who is said to have told police he felt “under immediate threat of attack” from Ali and former soldier Ryan Hale, who are charged, as is Stokes, with affray.
Stokes said he and Hales were walking “calmly” past the pair towards a casino when they heard “homophobic” abuse aimed by Ali and Hale at Kai Barry and William O’Connor.
Stokes said he shouted: “Leave it out, you shouldn’t be taking the p— because they are gay.” Ali responded: “F— off or I’ll bottle you”.
However, an off-duty police support officer told the court Stokes was the “main aggressor” in the 2am brawl that left fire brigade worker Ali “completely unable to move”.
Stokes, on trial with Ali and Hale at Bristol Crown Court, said he drank two pints and five vodka shots in the hours before the fight took place. Stokes said he and Hales decided to walk to a casino and headed down Queens Road, where they passed Barry and O’Connor, who were with Hale and Ali.