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Disgraced tennis star (75) gets six years for rape


Bob Hewitt

Bob Hewitt

Bob Hewitt

Disgraced tennis star Bob Hewitt was sentenced to six years in jail yesterday after being found guilty of two counts of rape and one count of sexual assault.

Hewitt (75), who won 15 Grand Slam men's and mixed doubles titles, was found guilty in March of raping and assaulting young girls when he was a tennis coach in the 1980s and early 1990s.

"Justice must be seen to be done, even to ageing offenders and even after the expiration of many years after the crime," said Judge Bert Bam at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, who sentenced Hewitt to eight years in prison - with two years suspended - for raping and sexually abusing young girls decades ago.

Before sentencing, Hewitt pleaded with the court to take his poor health into consideration and said he had received anonymous threats warning of assault if he was put behind bars. Hewitt, who was Australian but became a South African citizen after marrying his wife, also told the court that he had suffered a stroke in 2010 and a heart attack in 2011.

"No rapist or violator of children should be allowed to hide behind his age," said Judge Bam.

The defence team asked that Hewitt's bail be extended until today at 9am, which was approved, and indicated that they will apply for an appeal. (© Daily Telegraph, London)