A gay couple has praised Ben Stokes for saving them from homophobic bullies on the night of the pub brawl in Bristol in September. Stokes was arrested in Bristol on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm after getting into a fight but was released late in the night without charges.However, the ECB suspended Stokes and Alex Hales, who was with the English all-rounder at the time of the incident. The dashing all-rounder was also dropped from the Ashes squad pending investigation .Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell said they were “grateful” to Stokes, who stepped up to help them from getting beaten up, and also called the England all-rounder a “real hero”.”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,” Billy O’Connell told Sun.”I’m not a fighter and we didn’t want a fight. We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman,” Kai Barry said.The couple said they were dancing when someone called them ‘batty boys’, a derogatory term for gays.When the two left the pub around 2am, Stokes and Hales accompanied them. Kai revealed they heard more shouts of ‘batty boys’ but they ignored.”When the fight happened it came out of nowhere. I’m not a violent person. And that’s probably why Ben Stokes stood up for me. He probably knew from the way I was speaking to them that I’m a friendly person,” Kai added. “Towards the end of the fight it all got a bit scary so we walked off,” he said.advertisementSickening…Ben Stokes punching on…check out this powerful piece by @paulcochrane https://t.co/pHVkk8zU4Y pic.twitter.com/6tEcjQVQpM- Get ‘Em Onside (@GetEmOnside) September 28, 2017Stokes had claimed to both the police and to the ECB in their internal investigation that he was coming to the aid of two men who had been subjected to homophobic abuse prior to the incident.English police renewed their appeal for two men, who could be ‘key witnesses’ to the incident that has placed talismanic England all-rounder’s place in the Ashes tour in jeopardy.In Stokes’ absence, Steven Finn was roped into the squad as Stokes’ replacement for the full five-match Test series.The much-awaited Ashes series will begin at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 23.