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Stokes 'could have killed me': cleared defendant

AFP  |  London 

Ryan Hale, a former soldier allegedly knocked out by Ben Stokes, said the England "could have killed me", their trial heard Thursday, as the ex-serviceman was formally cleared of

Stokes, and a third man, Ryan Ali, were in Crown Court on Thursday for the fourth day of their trial for alleged in the southwest English city on September 25 last year.

After the prosecution concluded its case against the three men, told the jury to find not guilty.

"I am directing you to find him not guilty in my analysis of the evidence," Blair said.

Hale, 28, was formally found not guilty and invited to leave the dock. The court has seen security camera footage of Stokes, 27, brawling with and Ali in a street.

The prosecution has said first knocked out Hale, then 27-year-old Ali. On Thursday, jurors heard that Hale told police in a formal interview: "I'm a dad. He could have killed me. I don't know why he didn't stop.

"He could have beaten the living hell out of me. It's shocking to see someone doing that to someone who didn't do anything wrong." - 'Banter' -

told the court on Thursday that he had traded jokes over clothes with and Kai Barry, two openly gay regulars at the Mbargo club, but then stepped in to defend them when they were subjected to homophobic abuse by Hale and his friend Ali.

"I am very clear that the words being used towards these two gentlemen were about them being gay," he said.

"I stepped in and said you shouldn't be saying those things to those two men. "I was told by Mr Ali along the lines of 'Shut the fuck up or I'll bottle you'. I remember taking a swing at Mr Ali.

"I was protecting myself. I would say that I took a decision of what I did very quickly," added.

Hale said of Stokes: "There's no self-defence and he isn't defending anyone else. The case against Stokes and Ali continues.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, August 09 2018. 23:55 IST