A Guest Post by pgb38 – the Schroeder Letters

Elizabeth Haysom and I are third cousins; we have now become close friends. I first visited her at the Bedford County Jail not long after she was extradited from London. Although we had met several times before her crime, usually when she was having lunch out with her parents, she did not recognize me. With her permission, I continued to visit her on a regular basis throughout the time of her sentencing trial. When the time came for her to be transferred to prison, she asked if I would be willing to store her minimal possessions for her. Of course I agreed and have been her “keeper of things” ever since.

Throughout the years I have kept in storage important documents, journals, books, letters, craft materials, etc. Among the items that she has entrusted to me are two letters written to her by Mathias Schroeder. One (written the end of 2005) was received by her in 2006 and the other in 2008. Mathias shared a jail cell with Jens Soering when both were incarcerated in Ashford, England.

This website relates:

“While in prison in Ashford, England, Soering got to know a fellow German called Mathias Schroeder, who was himself serving a short sentence, and gave him an account of what had happened.

Cell confessions”, so called, have come to be viewed with suspicion for quite understandable reasons, the more so when there might be some advantage to the person repeating what he claims to have been told (a shorter sentence or enhanced privileges, for example). In this case, however, Schroeder was writing some years later when he was home in Germany and had nothing whatever to gain. He had seen Soering’s later cries of innocence and simply wanted the truth to be known, and the account of the crimes Soering privately gave him was consistent with his earlier admissions to the police and others.

Schroeder wrote to Elizabeth Haysom, the Governor of Virginia and the Parole Board with this information in 2005 (and sent a subsequent letter to Haysom in 2008). Unfortunately it is not possible to post the letters here for legal reasons. As a matter of basic intellectual property law Schroeder owns the copyright, and it would therefore be wrong to publish them without his consent, express or implied.”


After much searching, I have located Mathias Schroeder and am now in  communication with him. He has granted me unconditional permission to quote  whatever materials I have that were written by him.

So this from the 2006 letter [to Elizabeth Haysom]:

“I should mention – to be fair at all – that I knew your former friend, but I don’t have any connections with him any more. I knew him from Ashford/Middlesex where I have been incarcerated for 18 weeks. I arrived there in March ’86, Jens one month after and, we have been together for maybe 7 weeks, shortly before they have changed him to Brixton, high security wing. I tried to visit him once after I got released in Britain, but it wasn’t possible. After I had left Britain, he wrote two or three times, then he cut off the relationship. Probably, I know – why he did.

When I first met him in Ashfield [note: it was Ashford], he was in for cheque fraud and he talked about what he did on this field. After 3 or 4 weeks, he got in trouble with the case which of both of you are convicted now. Suddenly, he disappeared for two or three days, but the second day all newspapers, tabloids were full of the murder case. Matie(?) asked me if I knew about this because I was frequently talking to Jens, but I myself couldn’t believe it until Jens came back the third day from police interrogation. I asked him in German, if he knew what the press released about him and he had a smile all over his face replying: you mean if I have killed the parents from my girlfriend, of course I did, he said. I was shocked all over by his coolness. He had absolutely no empathy.

Thereafter, he entered in the remaining Ashfield days more detailed into this case day by day. Actually, I would have been a key witness in your case if someone would have asked me. As Jens is a bright and intelligent young man, he cut off with me because he knows all what he has told me and for this reason, I know a hundred percent that you are innocent. I did not follow the case when it has been on trial for this, I could not report him because of what I knew to anyone. If I had known that suddenly he was blaming you for all what he did, I would have considered it my duty to speak out of all what I knew solely from Jens any earlier.

Jens is a very contradictory person as he says(?) part of his defense nowadays, he wanted to rescue you(?) to save you facing extradition, the other side is that he claims that he thought he would have expected to get trialed in Germany where he had get a much lower sentence. On another article he wrote that he expected to die on the electric chair whilst he had been held in England. Jens tries to identify himself with his own reality made by himself. And he keeps this man-maniacal soule in his face not recognizing and accepting what has happened. If you would have never met him, you would have a normal life, your parents could still be alive, and he would be in prison, maybe for something else. I don’t consider Jens a normal person. He is, in fact, a dangerous psychopath.

He is very counting, egocentric with a big lack of empathy. Prison life has helped him to form out more of this characteristic, still. I wrote him a letter also in 1990 when he had been to the state already but he did not reply for the foresaid reasons, I belief.

In my opinion, you are another victim from him, but maybe you have or might have another view and – by all means – do I want to respect your view, anyway.

If you have gotten to be another victim of him, it’s a real tragedy then. For now, you have not deserved for what you have gotten now anyway. It is a pity that you are incarcerated still. So, you know something more about me and some facts. I am always ready to witness all what Jens has told me if the need should arise.”


And from the 2008 letter:

“Sometimes, I had a glimpse into the internet tracking the latest news from Jens his case, but he made it also quite public by German person. Last year, his lawyers came over and made statements on KERNER’s TV – Show. Last week Jens new book was announced in the German press, he writes about his prison life. This weekend this book is available in German.

The sections I could read in an introducing article showed that meanwhile, Jens has lost all of his limits of shame towards other people, in between. I was a bit shocked by it, but I guess that makes him also coming out with the truth, sooner or later. I believe that he realizes that there’s no chance the way along he went with all this lies so he’ll try a new approach with another strategy. Maybe, he’ll turn around and coming back to the truth in the near future. The article about his prison life shows that he’s desperate, in between. He writes like he would have no hope any more. In fact, this can be the truth for him probably, if he does not change to the truth.

Two years ago, I send an email to the Governor of Virginia and I explained that he had confessed to me everything in detail in 1986. This email was replied by [an official] from the Virginia Parole Board. She asked me to get more into the details Jens had mentioned to me which I did in another email directly to her own email – address. She confirmed to me that she had gotten also the email with my further explanations and that this information would form part of the probation/parole file from Jens from now on. I clearly mentioned that he confessed it to me in very profound details. Also, that you had not been together with him at the crime scene.

When he went to see your parents, he was not completely decided to kill your parents, but he didn’t exclude it and he had prepared himself for such a crime. He told me that he struggled with your father first. He took out a knife, he pulled it and he attacked him somewhere in the neck area. Then, there started a fight, your father, although he had been an old man already, he had a strengthness, Jens [had] not expected. Your father was bleeding from the cut in the neck area and Jens cut himself whilst giving more stitches to your father’s body. Your mum had come from the kitchen and hammered on Jens his back when he was in the fight with your father, still. After your father fell down finally because of huge loss of blood, he took also the life of your mother by more or less the same way. Then he made sure that both were really dead before he left the house.

He told me all of this in Ashford. It was after he had been questioned by the police because of this crime. He did not talk to me before the press releases. After the press release, when he was back from the police a few days later, I asked him when I saw him for the first time again, if there is some truth in it if what the press reported about him when he replied to me in a very relaxed way: you mean that if I had killed the parents of my girlfriend, of course I did – and after telling this, he had a smile all over his face like happieness. I was really shocked by so much cold-bloodness. Therefore, I’ll never forget about this fact how it took place. I (deem?) him for this and for how he acted in his trial and thereafter up to the present day for a very dangerous psychopath.

Sometimes, he confirmed this also when I came up to his cell and we had only his bed to sit. He offered me a place very close to him, but I decided to have a little more distance but this out of a general feeling, not in particular because of the crime he did. He then said that he could understand my carefulness, because he could have hided a knife somewhere which he could take out suddenly. He meant it like a joke, but it was only his kind of joke. I couldn’t understand this way of thinking. If I had to judge about his behavior nowadays, I could take it as another indication of that he is really mentally ill, ill-minded. However, together with his intelligence, he always finds a way to distract one from the original facts and leads the listeners to another reality.

When we talked about the case for the first time, he has surrendered. He did not know about the German law system and that he could get trialed there according to the juveniles laws with a maximum sentence of ten years for any crime if your state of mind being already over 18 but still under 21 would be considered as mature only as a juvenile as under 18 still. I was the one who told him this. Nowadays, he claims he had known before and made the confession only because he wanted to save your life and he would be trialed in Germany as a juvenile with a maximum sentence threating him with 10 years.

Now, whenever I see or hear something about himself, I get really annoyed about his recklessness and how he tries to mislead that public about himself. He shows to be someone he really isn’t, at all. The picture he draws from himself is another of what he is, really. Especially the fact that he blames you all the time shows clearly how cold-blooded he is. If I put any critics about him into the net (worldwide), often I read a commentary from him under a pseudonym defending his position and discrediting the critic as it can only be made by himself or in order of his instruction by a third hand. It’s a despotic way. For this, I can very good understand how he hurried you or at least in whitewall he did it. If he would be presented to a medical examiner, I mean a psychiatrist, he could tell to all of us without delay which kind of personality he has got. It’s very obvious and only because it doesn’t matter anymore, no such medical report is asked for. Whilst in prison, he is no danger to the public.

I hope you’ll have a chance to get out of jail pretty soon. It’s really a very sincere wish I have that this nightmare will end for you in the very near future.”


All of Jens’ claims of confessing to protect Elizabeth hold absolutely no credibility here. Mathias was a German-speaking teenager (a little younger than Jens and in jail for credit card fraud). Jens never expected to see or hear of him again. So why, then, would he give a voluntary, detailed, and explicit account of his crime to the young man? It appears to me from Mathias’ letters that perhaps Jens was bragging about his crime and trying to make himself look important to the youthful Mathias.

As I have said, Elizabeth and I have become very close. Our friendship has grown considerably over the past thirty-plus years. I stand in awe of the beautiful (both inside and out) young woman she is today. Elizabeth has never denied her part in the crime, having pled guilty to accessory before the fact. She has demonstrated her profound remorse by personally contacting and asking forgiveness from all of the victims. Three of her half-siblings traveled great distances (two from Canada and one from Malaysia) this past April [2017] to support her parole. They have forgiven her and all have been reconciled.

Her accomplishments are far too numerous to mention, so I refer you to the last paragraph of the section on this site entitled “The Many Lies of Jens Soering.” I will add though, that Elizabeth has never sought revenge nor retaliation against Jens. Her life exhibits repentance, restoration, and compassion for all, specially her fellow inmates.

* * *