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Hewitt said rape is enjoyable - witness

Bob Hewitt at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Bob Hewitt at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Published Feb 11, 2015


Johannesburg - Former tennis star Bob Hewitt told one of his alleged victims that rape was enjoyable, the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge, heard on Wednesday.

The third of Hewitt's alleged victims testified that he gave her private tennis lessons from age 14 to 17 and sexually assaulted her during this time.

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“At a private lesson, he was quite jovial... we were discussing tactics, and he said to me 'rape is enjoyable in all cases and if I rape you, you need to lie down and enjoy it',” she said.

Terry Price, for Hewitt, said Hewitt denied saying this.

The woman said: “I was shocked and I think maybe he realised he had pushed a button.

“...By the time I got home he had phoned my mother and told her he doesn't think I have the mental toughness for tennis.”

Hewitt, 75, faces two charges of rape and one of indecent assault. He has pleaded not guilty.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect her identity, said Hewitt frequently stood close behind her on the pretext of demonstrating tennis shots during their tennis lessons in the early 1990s.

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He allegedly brushed his arm unnecessarily across her breast and rubbed against her back.

Price said his client had long suffered from back pain and suggested this could account for his motions, which she interpreted as sexually suggestive.

She said she had seen him stretch his back, as Price demonstrated, but she had not mistaken this for abuse.

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In her evidence-in-chief the woman described how Hewitt used to rub against her.

“I would try to pull away from him, he would get angry. I could feel him rubbing himself up and down behind me.

“I could feel something hard on my back, which I assume, now as an adult, was an erection.”

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Price asked repeatedly whether this would be noticeable to someone watching, such as her mother who sometimes watched her tennis lessons. She replied she did not know.

She said she tried to pull away from Hewitt when he did this.

“He used to get irritated, and say 'What are you doing? Stop that'.

“Whenever I felt him that close against me that I could feel his penis, I would try and arch further and further away.”

On Monday, Theresa Tolken told the court Hewitt had touched her inappropriately 34 years ago and forced her to perform oral sex on him when she was 12 and 13. He also allegedly raped her at Sun City.

On Tuesday, Suellen Sheehan said Hewitt raped her in his car under some trees before tennis practice in Boksburg one day in 1982, when she was 12.

Hewitt, a former tennis doubles Grand Slam champion, was indefinitely suspended from the International Hall of Fame in 2012 when investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct arose.

Wearing an olive brown suit, Hewitt sat on top of the wooden dock before court began and chatted to his wife Delaille, who wore a canary yellow sleeveless blouse.

Before Judge Bert Bam entered the court, Hewitt took his seat in the dock and cupped his face with one hand.


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