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Bob Hewitt guilty of rape, indecent assault

The former tennis champion was accused of sexually assaulting three women in the 1980s & 1990s.

Former tennis champion Bob Hewitt has been found guilty on two counts of rape and one of indecent assault on 23 March 2015. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Former tennis champion Bob Hewitt has been found guilty on two counts of rape and one of indecent assault.

Hewitt pleaded not guilty after three women claimed he abused them while he was their coach in the 1980s and 1990s.

Ten witnesses testified last month.

The state and the defence presented closing arguments this morning.

Judge Bert Bam handed down judgment this morning, saying the state was able to prove that Hewitt raped and sexually assaulted three women almost 30 years ago.

Bam said there was a striking resemblance between the testimonies of all three women, which may indicate the former tennis star's modus operandi.

The judge said Hewitt clearly manipulated the young girls, put them under his spell and they were intimidated by him, which is why they were submissive.

The victims, who were in court today, became emotional, with Hewitt trying to avoid looking at the cameras.

VICTIM 1: 'MY PARENTS SUPPORT BOB HEWITT'

During the trial victim one, Suellen Sheehan, revealed she did not have a relationship with her family because her parents supported Hewitt.

She claimed her parents were abusive towards her when she was young, saying she didn't report the abuse immediately because her parents dismissed her and told her she was talking rubbish when she tried to confide in them.

A few years ago, her parents took to the media, calling her a liar and denying that she'd been left alone with Hewitt.

Sheehan then claimed that her family supports abuse.

VICTIM 2: THE LOVE LETTERS

Letters that Hewitt wrote to victim two, Theresa Tolken, were also highlighted during the case.

It was revealed in court that the former champion wrote the word 'love' eight times in one letter addressed to Tolken, who was 13 at the time.

She claimed Hewitt made her touch him inappropriately and raped her.

But Hewitt testified that in the letters, he was trying to show her fatherly love and wanted to build up her confidence.

He also said if he had had sex with her, she would have had to be hospitalised, adding that this didn't happen and that the letters he wrote were innocent.

The now guilty 75-year-old said he was closer to Tolken than any of his other tennis students, adding that he felt sorry for her and believed she didn't have a good relationship with her father.

VICTIM 3: 'RAPE IS ENJOYABLE'

Later in the trial, more shocking details emerged, with the third victim testifying that Hewitt told her ' rape is enjoyable'.

The woman testified she was 14-years-old when Australian-born Hewitt would rub himself against her and get upset when she would push him away.

She told the court he would ask her what colour underwear she was wearing and tell her that he liked black lace garments.

The woman claimed Hewitt told her rape was enjoyable in all cases and that when he did it to her, she should just lie down and enjoy it.

He later tried to explain the comments, saying they were not directed at his female students and he was referring to the matter in tennis terms.