Shaolin martial arts expert Luke Skywalker pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder and kidnapping of his former wife, Patricia, who also has a black belt in karate, when he appeared in the Cape Town Regional Court on Tuesday.
“Not guilty,” said Skywalker to both charges, his long black plait hanging down the back of his waist coat.
In his plea agreement, he alleged it was Patricia – who also studied kung fu for five years – who had attacked him, pulled his hair, kicked through a bathroom door, threatened to cut his ponytail off, and wanted to stab him during a fight over an SMS.
According to Skywalker’s plea explanation, he and his wife had been separated since October 2017 and she had moved out of their house in West Beach.
Skywalker, who had changed his name years ago to that of the famous character in the Star Wars movie franchise, said in spite of their impending divorce, she regularly visited the house and even slept over.
However, on the night and morning of December 29 and 30, 2017, she went to their house, ostensibly to discuss their impending divorce.
She went to his bedroom while he was watching a movie and things went awry when she received an SMS.
He later looked at her phone, and saw what he regarded as an “inappropriate” cellphone message and things escalated.
Patricia allegedly pulled Skywalker’s hair and hurt his neck but he broke her hold on him and ran into the en-suite bathroom, locking the door behind him.
He carried on going through her cellphone, but Patricia allegedly kicked a panel out of the door, opened the door, grabbed his hair again and threatened to cut his pony tail off with a pair of scissors she was brandishing, and allegedly threatened to stab him.
She then burst into tears and said, “the lies must stop”.
“I at no stage attacked her. All my actions were in self defence,” said Skywalker’s statement.
“She was free to leave at any point.”
However, led by prosecutor Vuyani Nati, Patricia said Skywalker had repeatedly asked her to pop in before she left to spend time with friends over the New Year period to say goodbye before she left.
When she arrived at their house he was wearing underpants and sliders, which made her feel awkward.
He asked her which movie she wanted to watch so that they could “chill”.
“I like to watch karate movies so I chose Jackie Chan’s Foreigner,” she said.
But while they were watching the movie on a bed on the top floor of the four-storey home they once shared, she noticed him staring at her.
“He was holding my hand saying my energy felt strange,” she testified.
An SMS came through to her from a platonic male friend and he had wanted to know who it was.
She showed him and he put the phone down but then he asked to see the phone again.
It had been this friend’s birthday a few days previously and the friend and Patricia had bantered about going out for lunch to “be happy”, and she said it would be her treat for his birthday.
“I told him [the friend] it was on like Donkey Kong,” she continued.
Skywalker ran to the bathroom with her phone and locked the door.
“He was cross, and shouting and screaming about me having an affair…”
She said she kicked the door saying: “I’m not leaving without my phone”.
He opened the door and allegedly grabbed her by the neck and screamed at her, with his demeanour changing to a “demonic monster”.
He allegedly hit her, strangled her, and went at her with a normal pair of scissors and then a pair of nose hair scissors, while he leaned over her.
“I thought I was going to die right then because I couldn’t breathe.
“He trains three times a day. He is a martial artist, probably one of the best in South Africa. So I knew if I had to hurt him, he could kill me. He could easily just kill me.”
The situation continued for hours and at one point she considered running to the bathroom and jumping out of the fourth floor window just to end it all.
But after many hours of him accusing her of lying, and demanding to know where she had hidden money from him during the divorce, she played along with his demands that they reconcile.
He allegedly made her rehearse conversations she would have with people telling them this news.
“He said ‘whose got the power now?’ I said. ‘you’ve got the power now’.
“… He was saying this is going to be an Oscar Pistorius and Reeva [Steenkamp] case,” she said.
Paralympic gold medalist Pistorius is serving a 13-year-jail term for lawyer and model Steenkamp’s murder.
He shot her dead in a toilet cubicle in her house, and told the court he thought the person in the cubicle was a burglar after hearing a noise.
The trial continues.