Sheehan: I forgave Hewitt long ago

2015-03-23 14:38
Suellen Sheehan, one of the victims of former Grand Slam tennis champion Bob Hewitt. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Suellen Sheehan, one of the victims of former Grand Slam tennis champion Bob Hewitt. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Former Grand Slam tennis champion Bob Hewitt has already served his sentence, one of his former students, Suellen Sheehan, said on Monday.

"He has served his sentence. If he goes to jail, he goes to jail. If he doesn't, he doesn't," she told reporters outside the High Court in Johannesburg, sitting in Palm Ridge.

Judge Bert Bam earlier found Hewitt guilty on two counts of rape and one of sexual assault.
Australian-born Hewitt had been on trial for raping two of his former students, Theresa "Twiggy" Tolken and Sheehan in the 1980s. He sexually assaulted a third woman, who may not be named, in the 1990s.

He gave tennis lessons to the girls.

"We need to all just move on from this and learn something out of it. I forgave him a long time ago," Sheehan said.

The court's ruling had given her some freedom.

"It is a victory yes. It has given me a little freedom to move on with my life. Victory is a hard word to use because I don't think it is a game."

She hoped the case would encourage other victims to come forward.

"I just hope this gives hope to other victims [so they] can hopefully take something from this and be as brave as we were, and confront danger and take their perpetrators to task, because ultimately they will be believed."

Minutes after Bam found Hewitt guilty, tears streamed down Sheehan's face. She left the courtroom and rushed past several cameras to get to the toilets.

Outside the courtroom prosecutor Carina Coetzee covered her face with her hands, smiled, and shook her head. She said she was in shock.

"Last night I couldn't breathe wondering how I was going to still convince him [Bam]," she said.

Read more on:    bob hewitt  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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