Cape Town - The UCT rugby player who allegedly hit a woman during a brawl in a restaurant has gone public to clear his name, accusing his victim of being “economical with the truth”.
North-West University student Irini Agathagelou accused Ikey Kyle Kriel of threatening to hit her while she “tried to stop the fight” at a Wimpy outlet in Potchefstroom after the Ikeys’ victory in the Varsity Cup on Monday night.
He had allegedly connected her with “a right hook in the face”, prompting her to accuse Kriel of “woman abuse”.
But Kriel came out on Friday “to set the record straight”, saying Agathagelou had been “extremely economical with the truth, to put it lightly”.
Kriel said they went to the Wimpy from a nightclub next door at about 4am.
The row had begun when a woman at his table verbally abused a PUK wing. A fight broke out between the PUK player and another man – but he remained uninvolved.
Kriel alleged that in direct contrast to Agathagelou’s version of events, she then confronted him, ripped his shirt and slapped him.
“I did not retaliate but raised my hands to indicate I was not going to retaliate,” he reported in his statement.
She pushed him out of the restaurant, and “she then grabbed my shirt and ripped it completely open and started to punch and scratch me”.
Again, he had raised both his hands, and had not retaliated. However, he had then seen that the team physiotherapist, Mike van Rheede, was trying to break up the fight inside, and “was getting into trouble”.
He tried to defend his physio but was blinded by a policewoman using pepper spray.
“Someone, whom I could not see, continued to attack me and I lashed out blindly at my attacker to try and fend off the attack,” Kriel wrote.
Later, watching the video footage, he said it appeared that Agathagelou had also run into the restaurant and “started to hit me with an object, which looks like a high-heeled shoe, on my head at least 15 times”.
He conceded throwing a punch at her, hitting her in the face, but stressed that “I was blinded by pepper spray”. Kriel said the full video footage supported his version of events.
“I did not know that it was a woman who had attacked and punched me. If I was aware of this, I would not have punched her,” he wrote.
He apologised both for his involvement in the brawl, and the punch.
“I do, however, feel it is extremely misleading of Agathagelou to now allege that she ‘suffered from woman abuse’,” Kriel wrote.
UCT announced on Friday that after an investigation, a charge would be laid against the student for breaching its students code.