Rapist and disgraced tennis star Bob Hewitt reported for the first day of a six-year sentence at St Albans Prison yesterday, managing to avoid a media gathering outside by arriving early.
Correctional Services spokesman Zama Feni said Hewitt had reported to the facility shortly before 7am with family members.
This was minutes before a contingent of media arrived at the prison gates.
Prison officials outside the gate said Hewitt, 76, would spend his time behind bars in a special section of the prison reserved for elderly or frail offenders.
He was convicted in March last year of raping two teenage tennis pupils and sexually assaulting a third in the 1980s and 1990s.
His bid to appeal against his conviction went as high as the Constitutional Court, but was unsuccessful.
Feni said Hewitt had undergone a security and health risk assessment as standard procedure.
“He has been categorised as a mediumrisk offender and will be accommodated in the Medium B section, and will be allowed two visits a month,” Feni said.
“Offenders over the age of 65 are treated as a special category and are automatically allocated a single cell.”
One of Hewitt’s victims, Theresa “Twigy” Tolken, said the truth had finally caught up with Hewitt.
“My mother and I have been waiting for this day for a very long time,” she said.
“I just wish my dad was around to witness it. “Bob Hewitt has tried to evade justice and tried anything at his disposal to stay out of jail. He continually lied about his despicable actions.”
Tolken said she hoped his imprisonment would serve as a warning to criminals, and ins p i re other victims to step forward against their attackers.
Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) director Miranda Friedmann said she felt an incredible sense of relief now that Hewitt was behind bars.
“He has been brought down to the lowest level,” she said outside the prison gate yesterday. “There is nothing lower than being behind bars at the age of 76.
“He was a mentor and role model to these girls, but little did anyone know his interest in them went far beyond their tennis careers.”