Bob Hewitt : Ex-tennis star gets effective six years in jail

Bob Hewitt : Ex-tennis star gets effective six years in jail

Bob Hewitt has been sentenced to an effective six years in jail after being found guilty in March of two counts of rape and one of sexual assault.

The 75-year-old was found guilty of assaulting three under-age girls during his time coaching children in South Africa in the 1980s and 1990s, charges he denied.

Judge Bert Bam sentenced Bob Hewitt to eight years in jail for two counts of rape, with two years suspended, and two years in prison for a third charge of sexual assault.

The three sentences will run concurrently.

The judge said that if Bob Hewitt had been aged 50 when he was convicted he would have been sentenced to 20 years in prison, adding that Hewitt alone was to blame for his fate.

Bob Hewitt has also been ordered to pay $8,500 to state run campaigns against sexual violence.

Before he was sentenced, the Australian-born Hewitt had pleaded with the court in Johannesburg to take his poor health into account.

He also said he had received anonymous threats warning of assault if he was imprisoned, Talk Radio 702 reported.

Bob Hewitt also told the court he had suffered a stroke in 2010 and a heart attack in 2011.

In court, his wife pleaded with the judge not to send her husband to jail.

A sobbing Delaille Hewitt said: “I have never had to beg before but I am asking you from the bottom of my heart to please let my husband return to the farm as I could not survive without him.”

Bob Hewitt won nine Grand Slam doubles and six Grand Slam mixed doubles titles in the 1960s and 1970s.

He also reached the semi-finals of the men’s singles at the Australian Open on three occasions and won the Davis Cup with South Africa in 1974 after he had settled there.

Bob Hewitt was named in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1992, but his name was removed in 2012 after sexual abuse allegations emerged.