One mother from Yorkshire married a man serving life in prison for murder. She hopes that she can soon overturn the ban that prevented her entry to the USA and be reunited with him. 

Heike Phelan (Mum-of-2), a 49-year-old Huddersfield resident, was married to William Matthew Schiffert (also 49), in a prison ceremony on November 2, 2012. He’d been writing letters to the 49-year-old for years. 

Schiffert is currently serving a life sentence in a Texas jail for stabbing someone to death in 2001.

Heike cannot visit her husband in prison as she was banned from entering the US for 10 years after being caught in an accident in Dallas. 

Mum-of-two Heike Phelan hopes to overturn a ban to travel to the US and soon be reunited with her husband, Matthew Schiffert, who is serving life in prison for murder

Heike, mother of two, is hoping to get rid of a ban against travel to America and to soon be reunited her with Matthew Schiffert who is in life imprisonment for murder.

She believes that the new year will offer a chance to reconsider the decision, as she is married with an American citizen.

Heike spoke to Yorkshire Live and stated that it will take five years for the country’s immigration lawyers to ban him. This May, Heike explained: “This May I will have five years. So I can file an appeal. A lawyer for immigration said that they wouldn’t be allowed to deport you from the country for five years, even if your spouse is an American citizen.

She described being able see her husband once again as “brilliant” 

Heike and Schiffert were forced to separate, but Heike was able to communicate with Schiffert via video calls that were established during the pandemic.

Hopeful: Heike Phelan believes she could challenge the ban as her husband is a US citizen

Heike Phelan is hopeful that she can challenge the ban, as her husband (a US citizen) believes so.

She stated, “That has been keeping us moving, along with telephone calls that are no more than thirty minutes for the last year.”

Devote wife said that she and her husband speak at least twice a day.  

Both Heike and Schiffert are no strangers to being kept apart, having waited almost a year after they wed before she was allowed to kiss him.  

She spoke out about her experience in March’s interview on ITV’s This Morning. She shared with us that she couldn’t hug her husband for years because they were separated the first year. He met her through a glass perspex screen.

“We had been together for three years before we got married,” she stated. She also said that she’d begun going out to dinner three or four times per year. He was segregated at that time, so all of those visits took place behind glass. 

“We had been married for a year before our contact visit. This is when we sat opposite one another at a table before we got to share a hug or a kiss.   

Heike met Schiffert by way of a Christmas Card scheme through a prisoner assistance website. Heike claims her husband was totally open to all his crimes right from the beginning.

Schiffert (pictured with Heike on a prison visit) is currently serving a life sentence for stabbing someone to death in 2001

Schiffert is currently in prison serving a life sentence after stabbing another person to death in 2001.

She said, “In the first letter he revealed to me why he was locked up,” 

He said that there were other things he had done, but he didn’t have the time. 

“Everytime he said something to me, I did it, and each time it turned out to be right.” 

While the wife claimed she wasn’t involved directly in the murder of her son, the Texas law holds that anyone with any involvement in it is equally guilty. 

She said, “It’s not like I worry about whether he is guilty or innocent.” “That was a crime committed long before I met him.

“So, when he wrote me, and I replied as a friend to him, I stated that I wouldn’t judge but would not be lied too. So, you must be open with me, and we will learn to get to know each other and stop judging you on past actions. 

“So, I began with a blank slate with him basically.  

She explained that her mum had written to William 18 months prior to meeting in person. As he shared more of himself, she learned to trust him. 

She stated that he began telling me more stories over the years and was more forthcoming with me about his life and past. 

It is said that trusting someone makes you more invested in him/her. 

“It took me 18 months to go visit him, and it was nerve-wracking. I was concerned that the paper person would match up in real life. It did, thankfully.  

Heike spoke about her relationship with Schiffert on ITV's This Morning earlier this year

Heike discussed her relationship to Schiffert earlier in the year on ITV’s This Morning

According to the mother, her husband may be eligible for parole within two years. She hopes that they will one day live together.

She said, “He has just become part my life.” He’s still my friend and job. My lifestyle is the same. I enjoy traveling and writing books on his time in prison. His presence is a great addition to my daily life.