Convicted rapist Hewitt might go straight to prison
The North Gauteng High Court sentenced the former tennis player to an effective six years behind bars.
JOHANNESBURG - Convicted rapist Bob Hewitt will find out this morning if he must report to prison or whether he will be granted leave to appeal.
On Monday, the North Gauteng High Court sentenced the former tennis player to an effective six years behind bars for rape and sexual assault, crimes he committed more than 30 years ago.
Three women testified that Hewitt had taken advantage of them while he was their tennis coach in the 1980s and 1990s.
Hewitt's victims said they were expecting him to be taken to prison straight after his sentencing.
One of the victims, Suellen Sheehan, said it's still not over.
"Once it was confirmed that he was going to jail, it would have been nice if he had gone straight so that we can just move on with it."
Hewitt's legal team will apply for leave to appeal this morning, arguing that at 75-years-old, with a number of health issues, he should not be sent to prison.
Judge Bert Bam told Hewitt that no rapist can hide behind their age when it comes to justice being served.
Bam said he considered a number of factors when sentencing Hewitt, but added that justice had been delayed for too long.
He went into great detail about the seriousness of rape, but also took Hewitt's age and health into consideration.
"It is tragic that a once renowned and highly regarded sportsman who has represented his country across the world has to face reality and the consequences of his criminal deeds of the past."
Hewitt will spend the next six years behind bars and has been ordered to pay R100,000 to the Justice Department to fund anti-abuse campaigns.
Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has welcomed Hewitt's conviction and sentence.
The NPA's Velekhaya Mgobhozi said, "The matter has been adjourned until tomorrow because the accused wants to bring an application for leave to appeal the conviction as well as the sentence."
VICTIM 1: 'MY PARENTS SUPPORT BOB HEWITT'
During the trial 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 indeed 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.
Hewitt 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.