Hewitt was never alone with alleged victim, court hears

2015-02-17 16:13
Suellen Sheehan (File: Sapa)

Suellen Sheehan (File: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Australian-born former Grand Slam tennis champion Bob Hewitt was never alone with one of his rape accusers, Suellen Sheehan, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge heard on Monday.

"Mr Hewitt never took my child anywhere," Sheehan's mother Judy told the court.

"He never picked her up anywhere and I would have known about it."

She was being led in delivering her evidence-in-chief by Terry Price, for Hewitt.

Sheehan had testified that Hewitt raped her in his car in 1982 before tennis practise after picking her up from school.

Judy, however, said she never left her daughter with Hewitt.

"Never have I left my child standing there before practise or had her waiting there to be picked up," she said, adding that much of the time she stayed to watch her daughter practise.

"I looked after her 100%," said Judy.

She rejected her daughter's testimony that she had dismissed her claims of rape.

"If this had happened, this case would of taken place some 30 odd years ago," Sheehan said.

"I want to state to her in court that never ever were we told there was a problem with Hewitt," she said.

The first time she had heard about it was through media reports.

Judy said she always supported her daughter even though at times she knew she was in the wrong.

She told the court she recalled a time when her daughter was having trouble with her boss.

"She said she would just charge him with sexual assault," Sheehan said.

She testified that she and her daughter were estranged.

The relationship broke down after the Sheehans stopped supporting her financially and paying for her rent when Sheehan was 40.

Judy said her daughter had physically assaulted her and once told police her father had raped her.

Her daughter had criticised her on Facebook and threatened to destroy her using the social media networking site.

The family has since retired to the coast and no longer speaks to Sheehan.

"Matthew (Sheehan's son) is now in hiding from his mother," Judy testified. Matthew is 21.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Carina Coetzee, Judy said she was saddened by her daughter's conduct.

"I feel extremely said that she has chosen to treat her... mom in this matter," said Judy.

"I can never deny the fact that she is my daughter," she said.

She made a decision to not ask her daughter any more questions about the alleged rape.

If she could lie about disclosing this, she could lie about anything else, Judy said.

Sheehan is one of two women who have accused Hewitt of raping them in the 80s.

A third woman alleged that Hewitt sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.

Hewitt, now 75, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.


Read more on:    bob hewitt  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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