ENGLAND cricketer Ben Stokes taunted a gay couple outside a nightclub then flicked a lit cigarette butt at one’s head, before knocking out two other men in a “sustained episode of violence,” a court heard yesterday.

A prosecutor told the jury that both Ryan Hale and Ryan Ali needed hospital treatment after 6ft 2in all-rounder Stokes, 27, “lost control” during a street brawl in Bristol.

Stokes was later arrested and told police the fight started when he went to the defence of a gay couple after hearing Hale and Ali make homophobic remarks.

But prosecutor Nicholas Corsellis yesterday told a jury that Stokes had himself earlier taunted the pair, Kai Barry and William O’Connor, as they stood outside a nightclub.

He said the 6ft 2in Test star made fun of the pair, “mimicking their voices and mannerisms in a derogatory manner” — then flicked a cigarette butt towards Mr O’Connor’s head.

The court was told the fracas began when Stokes and fellow England star Alex Hales were denied access to Mbargo nightclub in Bristol.

They had been in there earlier celebrating England’s one-day international win over the West Indies last September.

But when they returned just after 2am bouncer Andrew Cunningham said the club was no longer admitting people.

The court was told Stokes tried to give Mr Cunningham £300 to let him in.

When the bouncer again refused Stokes allegedly became aggressive.

He told Mr Cunningham his gold front teeth made him “look like a c***” and his tattoos “were s***,” the Bristol crown court jury heard.

When Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor walked out of the club Stokes turned his mockery on them, it was claimed.

The jury was shown CCTV footage of Stokes apparently flicking the lit cigarette end.

Mr Corsellis said Stokes was “frustrated and annoyed” and acting in a “provocative manner” — and became even more enraged when the bouncer refused to shake hands.

The court heard firefighter Ali, 28, and Afghan veteran Hale, 27, then emerged from Mbargo.

They walked up the road talking to Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor, followed by Stokes and Hales.

The prosecutor said that what exactly happened next “only the defendants know.”

The court heard student Max Wilson was in bed when he heard shouting.

Mr Wilson, who videoed the incident, said the atmosphere was “confrontational” and the men “like football hooligans.”

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

Mr Corsellis said: “Mr Stokes decides to get involved and moves towards Mr Ali, with his right arm out and throws a punch.”

The prosecuter said the incident could have finished there.

But he added: “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.”

“This was not a trivial moment of unpleasantness.

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

Mr Corsellis told the jury Durham star Stokes was not acting in self-defence.

He said “Everybody except him wants it to stop.”

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!”

It is claimed the video shows Stokes pursuing Hale, who is holding his hands out in defence, before punching him in the face, knocking him out.

The fight stopped as police arrived.

Ali was taken to the Bristol Royal Infirmary by ambulance.

He had a fracture to the left of his face, a swollen left eye and a cut above his eyebrow.

He also had a cracked lower left molar.

Hale went to the same hospital with a 1½-inch gash on his head.

Mr Corsellis said: “Mr Stokes had no obvious injuries save for swelling on his right hand.”

Stokes was interviewed on two occasions by officers but answered all questions with: “No comment.”

But he gave three prepared statements.

In the first Stokes said he saw two men speaking to two gay men in a “harsh and abusive” way that was homophobic.

Mr Corsellis said Stokes said he “took exception to this and said, ‘You shouldn’t be taking the p*** because they’re gay’.”

The statement said one of the men responded by saying: “Shut up or I'll bottle you,” before approaching clutching a bottle.

Mr Corsellis said Stokes’s statements insisted: “He felt the need to defend himself as he thought he was going to be attacked.

"He maintained that at all times he acted in self-defence of himself or others.

“He said that he believed the force he used was ‘reasonable and entirely justified when the circumstances are viewed objectively’.”

Stokes also denied being “aggressive” towards Mr Cunningham — or behaving in a derogatory manner towards Mr Barry and Mr O’Connor.

He said he shared a joke with the couple but did not flick a cigarette at anyone.

Stokes, Ali and Hale deny affray.

The trial continues.