Mathias Schroeder has already been mentioned on this site. His letters of 2005 and 2008 were quoted from at length in the earlier guest post by pgb38.
It need only be said, therefore, that Mathias is a German citizen who was for some weeks imprisoned with Jens Soering at a young offenders’ institution in England in 1986. At the time he was only 17 years old and serving an 18-week sentence for petty fraud. He and Soering were the only native German speakers there, which became the common bond between them.
Over the weeks of their incarceration together, Soering explained in considerable detail how he had murdered the Haysoms – the events, the circumstances and the aftermath. Schroeder was then released in due course and went home to lead a productive life in Germany, eventually losing touch with Soering, and thought little more about him for some years.
It wasn’t until 2005 that his attention was drawn to Soering’s website, which features the much later claims of innocence and attempts to blame Elizabeth Haysom for his crimes. Given their previous conversations, he found this to be morally repugnant, hence the resulting letters.
Mathias Schroeder recently sent a formal statement to the Virginia Parole Board detailing what he knows of the Haysom murders, and has also given his permission for it to be published on this website. Far from gaining any personal advantage from this, he understands very well that it will not earn him the title of Mr Popularity 2018 in Germany, where Soering continues to enjoy great support, however misplaced. But as a matter of principle he is simply doing what he believes to be right, and his account is compelling.
Just a couple more things should be added by way of full disclosure. As will be seen, Schroeder is more than capable of expressing himself fluently in English, subject only to occasional slips and errors that do not in any way obscure the meaning of what he says. There would be no shortage of native speakers unable to write as well as he does in English. Nevertheless, there were a few spelling mistakes and typos in the original statement, and with his approval these have largely been corrected. Three other minor corrections have also been made at his request and are noted in the text. Additionally, his address has been removed from this internet copy for obvious reasons, as have the names of two Parole Board officials whom it was quite unnecessary to identify here.
The words and the statement, of course, remain entirely his own.
Statement of Mathias Schroeder to the Virginia Parole Board
April 7th, 2018
Virginia Board of Parole
Att: [Name removed]
Statement regarding Jens SOERING
I have been incarcerated in Great Britain, Ashford, Middlesex, from March 1986 up to September 1986. I shared my time in Ashford Remand Centre (Middlesex) together with Jens SOERING from the beginning of May 1986 until July, before he was allocated to another prison in London about May [Note: he means July] 10th, 1986.
My statement is based on my experience with JENS SOERING and is not biased by any news reports or publications referred to the case.
Jens SOERING and myself, we are German native speakers.
I met Jens Soering on his first day of arrival. I did have a court hearing the day when he came to Ashford. It means, we have been in the waiting room at the reception area in Ashford Remand Centre. We were together with about thirty more inmates awaiting the assignment of our cell block location. I was told by another inmate, Jens Soering is supposed to be German. I asked him openly of which country he is from and he replied to be American. As he spoke with an American accent, no more question was raised.
I worked as a tea boy in this prison, meaning that I prepared the tea for the staff members and this gave me the privilege to move around freely within the prison walls. In England, staff members enjoy a cup of tea hourly. Further to this, I was ordered to prepare little snacks as sandwiches or supply sweeties on demand. That was the reason why I was out of cell most time of the day.
My charge has been a minor fraud case. I got convicted of this case on September 3, 1986, at Southwark Crown Court in London. My imposed sentence was 18 weeks youth custody. I was immediately released on the court day as I had spent more time on remand, in between.
About three days after the arrival of Jens Soering, I met him in the prison kitchen area, again. As my nickname has been “Herman the German“, Jens Soering learned that I could be a possible fellow countryman of him. Suddenly, he approached to me asking me if I could speak German what I answered to him positively. At this time, I was 17 years of age, Jens Soering 19 y.o.
We were the only two German native speakers in Ashford prison at this time. The prison officers had some sympathy for us, as many of them knew Germany from their time on duty as soldiers in the British army. Neither of them had, however, knowledge of the German language.
I used to talk a lot to Jens Soering during his kitchen boy time. He did not mention the murders in the very beginning. He told me about his family, his fraud actions, his world journey and many more things. He mentioned that his father was a German Vice-Consul. For this reason he asked me not to mention that he has been together with me in prison. It was because I fostered a close relation to some German diplomats. They came to spend me regular visits in jail. They have sent me also newspapers every now and then. I shared those with Jens Soering. I understood that it could damage the reputation of Jens Soering his father if I would mention his presence in jail. Of course, I fulfilled this promise.
Suddenly, Jens Soering disappeared from the prison without any notice. I wondered why he did not inform me about his departure. There was no information available. People told me he had another court date. After three days, the whole yellow press was reporting the Virginia double murder case on the front pages. I was baffled and shocked after learning of this back history of Jens Soering. After 4 or 5 days, Jens Soering was back in prison but no longer employed as a kitchen boy for security reasons.
I met him on the yard in the morning, immediately asking, if it corresponds to the truth what the news were telling everywhere in the media. He shocked me when he said without any remorse, happily smiling: You mean if I had killed the parents of my girlfriend? Yes, of course, I did. That was what he said to me in German (“Du meinst, ob ich die Eltern meiner Freundin abgemurkst habe, na klar doch!“).
And after telling me this, he had a big smile all over his face.
As Jens Soering was not allowed to work in prison any more, I spent him many visits on his cell. Daily about two to three hours. The staff members enabled me this as I have been very reliable and trustworthy in my position as a tea boy (preparing and serving tea and food to the officials).
The news about his crimes were published if I remember it clearly in the beginning of May 1986. [Note: it was June 1986 – Mathias’s correction.]
Of course, I needed to talk with him about his murder crime.
He told me how everything started with his relationship in respect of Elizabeth Haysom. He told me that her parents were opposed to the relationship. They (the Haysoms) wanted another man for Elizabeth. And Jens Soering told me that the family Haysom is very influential in the United States of America. Jens Soering told me that he was threatened by the parents of his then girlfriend Elizabeth that if he would not cut the contact with their daughter Elizabeth, then they would try to remove him from the University of Virginia, try to get his father bounced out of the USA and, last but not least, Jens Soering sent back to Germany and their daughter Elizabeth back to Canada. Jens Soering thought this could mean the end of his relationship with Elizabeth.
Jens Soering made a plan how to convince the Haysoms that he is really in Love with Elizabeth and that he is a good man. In his plan, he did not exclude to kill Nancy and Derek Haysom. I believe that Jens Soering counted with a battle in the house of the Haysom family. For this reason, he discussed an alibi with his then girlfriend Elizabeth. It was, however, not a premeditated murder, as I judge it according to his telling.
Jens Soering prepared with Elizabeth for an alibi. It is the known story with the cinema tickets/stubs. Jens Soering told me that Elizabeth did stay in Washington when he left for a visit to the parents of Elizabeth. He was received by the parents who were at lunch on his arrival. He was offered something to drink and they entered into discussion at the table. Jens Soering did not tell me if he took a knife on him to the meeting or if it were on the table. Neither did I ask him this.
He told me that Mr Haysom had a fierce opinion and he could not convince him to change his mind. That was the point when he decided to kill him and his wife. Mr Haysom had a significant strength and was stronger as he thought. After he had cut the neck of Mr Haysom, he was able to defend him somehow, still. The mother of Elizabeth started to come from behind hammering with her fist on his back. Then she went off while he killed Mr Haysom and she had a knife in her hand. Then, he had to struggle with her until she were dead.
Then, he drove back to Washington and told to Elizabeth that there would not have been any alternative.
After a while, the Virginia police was interested to interview Jens Soering and he was asked to give his foot and fingerprints. He told me that there was an investigating police officer who was eager to proof his guilt. He considered killing him, as well. Elizabeth did not like the idea and saved thus the chief investigating officer his life. Jens Soering said that he denied to give his fingerprints because he thought he could have left fingerprints on the crime scene.
It was then when he feared that he could get forced to give his fingerprints and then he persuaded Elizabeth to go with him on the run. He stole blank German passports from the office of his father and got a new identity by this way. He was eager to live on fraud in the future.
He told me about a visit they spent to his grandmother in Switzerland. Jens Soering told me that he considered even to kill his grandmother because he saw the risk that she could call his parents and tell them about his whereabouts. He feared that the phone of his parents could have been intercepted (taped) and this could give him away. Elizabeth did not like this idea, either. She convinced him not doing this if he really would have loved her.
For this reason, Jens Soering did not commit another murder, but they disappeared in a jiffy. Jens Soering stole valuables (jewels and money) before he left with Elizabeth the house of his grandmother, he told me. Jens Soering had in his mind a story like Bonnie and Clyde. After I mentioned that I could not understand his philosophy of life, he asked me if I had fallen ever in true Love with someone? He told me that he would have done everything just for being together with Elizabeth, doesn’t matter whatever could have been the price for it.
Jens Soering shocked me also when he said he was questioned about a book they found (the police) in his flat in London. It was about how to build a bombshell. He defended himself with the argument that this book one can buy and get by any bookshop in England. It would have been 100% legal. Asking him for what reason he needed such a book and his answer was that blackmailing someone would be a very good business, too.
After that Jens Soering was transferred to another prison (Brixton), I maintained a little correspondence with him, still. This lasted for about one more year. Then, he did not reply to me any more. In his letter he showed some proudness of his crime. He never showed some remorse.
Before I was arrested in England, I did stay in prison for fraud (4 month) in Germany. I told him after his killing story emerged that in Germany he could get trialed as a juvenile and the maximum penalty could not exceed ten years for his double murder. I recommended to him that he should try to find a way to get extradited to Germany, instead. He feared the death penalty in Germany. [Note: here he means Virginia, not Germany, which did not have the death penalty. Mathias’s correction.]
In 2005, I came across Jens Soering his homepage (www.jenssoering.com) and I learned by this that Jens Soering accuses Elizabeth Haysom, wrongfully. It was then when I contacted Mrs [name removed] of the Virginia Parole Board and when I wrote to the the Governor of Virginia. I also wrote to Jens Soering himself and to Elizabeth Haysom telling her about that Jens Soering confessed the double murder of the Haysoms to me, too. I wrote to Jens Soering that I am not against his freedom but I am against his lies. I wonder how someone can murder the parents of a friend and thereafter accusing the victim (Elizabeth Haysom) of having done this by her own. It’s another sick and heinous act of Jens Soering who is very manipulative.
Jens Soering does not know how precious is human life. Even in prison, he tried always to build weapon using glass or nails or to sharpen a toothbrush or things like that in Ashford. He showed me his inventions always with some pride.
Jens Soering is in my opinion without any therapy a danger to the society. On the large it is possible that he is looking for some revenge against Mr Gardner. He could also endanger the life of Elizabeth Haysom.
Jens Soering is a threat to the society. Only in prison he is able to keep to the principal rules.
I am ready to make an affidavit to the beforesaid statement at any time, whenever the need should arise. I could make this in a Consular of the USA, or at a notary public office here in Europe.
Jens Soering was on a crime spree. I am convinced that he would have killed much more people if he would not have been caught in 1986. The perfection of his lies show the strength of his evil mind. Even being back to Germany, Jens Soering could find a way to getting back to the States for finding a way of revenge to Elizabeth Haysom and to police officer Gardner.
If you should have any more queries, then don’t hesitate to get back to me at any time.
Mathias Schroeder, Ph.D.
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