Emotions ran high in the Cape Town Regional Court on Wednesday as the former wife of martial arts expert Luke Skywalker insisted he had attacked and threatened to kill her, and that it was not the other way around as he claims.
Skywalker is on trial for the attempted murder and kidnapping of his former wife, Patricia.
He has pleaded not guilty, and said it was actually her who had attacked him. She has a black belt in karate.
The incident occurred at the house they used to share in West Beach, Blouberg. She had already moved out, but went there at his request in what she interpreted as a series of “last suppers” and final goodbyes after their marriage ended.
In his plea read into the record by his lawyer, Keith Gess, he said it was actually Patricia who had attacked him, damaging his neck and threatening to cut his ponytail off.
The court heard he had grabbed her phone and ran into the bathroom after finding a seemingly “inappropriate” text message a platonic friend had sent her. She allegedly kicked a hole in the door to get her phone, and brawled with him, threatening to cut his ponytail off at one point.
Patricia was on the stand for a second day on Wednesday, for cross-examination by Gess.
On Tuesday, the court heard she was at the house at his request on December 29 and they had chosen to watch Jackie Chan’s Foreigner after he asked her to stay and “chill” for a while and say goodbye before New Year.
While they were watching the film, an SMS came through from a male friend apologising for being out of touch because he had been in hospital.
Patricia testified that from there the situation changed, and for hours he hit, strangled and threatened to kill her, adding he also cut off chunks of her hair.
To stay alive, she agreed to tell everybody they had reconciled, and abide by his orders to rehearse what she would say when she told people this.
On Wednesday, during cross-examination, Patricia said he had held scissors to her head, forcing her to phone the platonic friend, and say they could no longer be in contact with each other.
“I had to say we had to end the friendship and our relationship; [that] the messages between us had been gravely improper.
“There were scissors in his hand permanently.”
Gess showed her pictures of the two looking seemingly happy before the incident. She, however, said the pictures were taken during a last-ditch effort by him to try and save their marriage.
Patricia said her marriage was one of isolation, to the point where he would not appear for birthdays, and then he would suddenly pull out all the stops to arrange outings for them. She denied suggesting they should go to a psychic for help.
She said she went along with the arrangements he had made for the outings that Gess displayed in the photographs, adding she regarded them as a series of “lasts” because she wanted the split to be amicable.
“I said to him at the time that I love him, but I don’t like his behaviour. I was denied love and intimacy throughout our marriage, and he switched it on during that period.
“That was all I wanted from him as a husband in the past. In the last three months, he switched it on, but it was not sustainable.”
Turning to her injuries, Gess said Patricia “only had bruises”, making the public gallery, which had suddenly filled up with women who came to listen to the case, gasp.
She said she went for various medical examinations, but no bones were broken, adding she had been through trauma from 23.00pm the night before until at least 13.00pm the following day, when there was a “supposed reconciliation”.
Patricia said he also made her cancel her rent that she had just paid that day and she agreed to keep up the facade that she would get back together with him.
“I would do anything that he asked me to do because I was trying to save my life. I said you can have the money, because I want to be alive.
“You say all I am left with is bruises, but you know, I’m going through trauma, I’m seeing a psychiatrist, I take medication to sleep at night.”
Patricia denied she had attacked him and tried to cut his hair, as alleged in his not guilty plea statement, saying when Skywalker was arrested, his hair “was perfect”.
He sat in a broad pin-striped suit in the dock, taking notes and listening intently.
Gess said before the incident, Skywalker had been with a woman he is in a relationship with, and questioned why he would be so obsessive over Patricia if he already had a new partner.
Gess also grilled Patricia about a video he had made of her saying she had attacked him, and her testimony that she said she would cut her chopped up hair short and say it was Shaolin-style, to explain away the chunks he had cut off.
She said he can be heard coaching her in the video, which was not shown to the court yet.
Gess said in her testimony that he said theirs was going to be an “Oscar Pistorius and Reeva” case, adding Skywalker said he had actually felt like Reeva.
Skywalker said she had kicked the door so hard that it landed in the jacuzzi while he was going through her phone and deleting things.
Patricia said she had kicked the door but did not break the door.
She added there was no way she could drag him around the room as claimed by him, because she weighed 53kg and he 100kg.
Patricia said he also made her write a message to her friends to cancel New Year plans she had made with them by saying his father had been in a “fatal accident”.
She then had her hair cut straight and took a shower. He then tended to her wounds with Chinese medicine and a smoked stick, moxybustion, that heats up and is intended to heal wounds.
Her mother was contacted and her parents were asked to bring over consent papers stating she had agreed to change and “act like everything was normal”. Her father brought the papers over but had to hand them through the fence because Skywalker would not let him in.
Afterwards, Patricia said, he sent messages to his students to say he and his former wife had “overcome mountains” and were back together again, adding the former DVD shop owner liked to quote lines from films.
She said she also “had to” tell the children “I’m coming back” and her son was very upset about it. They also made a booking to go to Grotto Bay.
Patricia denied Gess’ submission that on the morning of December 30 they had toast and soup and did Tai Chi.
“On the morning of the 30th , I was lying in my bed with my hair hacked off,” she said crying.
When Skywalker went for a shower she messaged her son to say they were not actually reconciling.
Gess wanted to know why, while he was in the shower and she was “wandering around the house”, she did not leave, use one of the cordless phones, or press a panic button.
Patricia said she could not see the keys in the door where they were usually kept when they were still together, and that he wanted her to be close to him.
Gess asked her why she had not looked for the keys while he was showering, or lock him in the bedroom.
“I don’t know, I was delirious I suppose,” she said, adding that she was subdued, her hair was cut off and she was not in a proper state.
“I wasn’t thinking straight. I was too scared to do anything.”
The trial continues.
On the sidelines of the case, Skywalker told News24 it was incorrect that he named himself after a Star Wars character, and that to say so is causing him embarrassment.
He said he took this name as a result of genealogy swab that indicated that his line was linked to Native Americans. He said Skywalker is a name associated with Native Americans, and he had changed it for that reason, not because of any affinity with Star Wars .
He also wanted it known that he was working on his PhD in public law and is not just a martial artist.