Gay men say Ben Stokes 'was defending them from abuse' before arrest - reports

Cricketer Ben Stokes was defending two gay men from homophobic abuse when he was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm, it is reported.

Kai Barry, 26, and Billy O'Connell, 20, said in an interview with the Sun that Stokes came to their aid by standing up to people who were abusing them.

Officers were called to the Clifton Triangle area of Bristol in the early hours of September 25 to reports of disorder, where Stokes was arrested. He was later released under investigation.

(Steven Paston/PA)
(Steven Paston/PA)

A 27-year-old man suffered minor facial injuries and was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary for treatment.

Mr Barry and Mr O'Connell claimed they met the all-rounder and his England team-mate Alex Hales in a nightclub and had no idea they were cricketers.

It is reported that Mr Stokes and Mr Hales were later walking along the road near the pair after leaving the nightclub when Mr Barry and Mr O'Connell were subjected to homophobic abuse.

BIG news.
As I reported weeks ago, THIS is why @benstokes38 got into that fight.
He should now be cleared for The Ashes. https://t.co/rsNuEu1jY0

-- Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) October 27, 2017

Mr O'Connell told The Sun: "We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.

"Kai feared he could be attacked. If Ben hadn't intervened it could have been a lot worse for us."

Mr Barry added: "I'm not a fighter and we didn't want a fight. We could've been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman."

Neil Fairbrother, Stokes' agent with International Sports Management, has said the star will offer a full explanation of his actions "when the time is right".

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