South Africa 12.2.2015 02:59 pm

Hewitt gave ‘fatherly love’: testimony

FILE PICTURE: Former grand slam tennis champion Bob Hewitt is seen at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court where he is standing trial on two charges of rape and one of sexual assault, Monday, 9 February 2015. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

FILE PICTURE: Former grand slam tennis champion Bob Hewitt is seen at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court where he is standing trial on two charges of rape and one of sexual assault, Monday, 9 February 2015. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Australian-born former tennis champion Bob Hewitt said on Thursday that he tried to give “fatherly love” to one of the women who have accused him of rape and indecent assault.

He told the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge, that he had a closer relationship with Theresa “Twiggy” Tolken than with any of his other students.

“I felt sorry for her. I didn’t think she was getting any love from her father. I tried to give her fatherly love,” the 75-year-old Hewitt testified under cross-examination by prosecutor Carin Coetzee.

He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape and one of indecent assault.

On Monday, Tolken testified that Hewitt touched her inappropriately and forced her to perform oral sex on him 34 years ago, when she was 12.

She also said Hewitt made her take off her panties and told her to lie on top of him in the bath. She claimed he tried to put his penis inside her.

The court heard that Tolken told her mother what had happened and a case was opened the next day, but it was not pursued because it was not opened in the area where the alleged rape — or attempted rape as it was defined in law at the time — took place, and out of concern for how she would be treated in court.

Another of Hewitt’s alleged victims, Suellen Sheehan, testified that Hewitt raped her in 1982 in his car before tennis practice. She was 12 years old.

A third alleged victim, who may not be named, testified that Hewitt rubbed himself against her back in an inappropriate manner during their private tennis lessons.

 

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