British mom marries Texas murderer serving 75-year sentence after they became prison pen pals

A British mom married a double-murderer serving 75 years in a Texas jail after the pair became pen pals.

And Heike Phelen hopes she and William Matthew Schiffert, both 49, will one day live together outside the razor-topped walls and insists: “I’m not a lunatic."

The pair met by chance when Heike, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, had been writing to a death row inmate and took part in a Christmas card “swap” organised by a website called Pristontalk.

Heike Phelan embraces her husband, William Matthew Schiffert, who's serving 75 years in prison.

Heike Phelan embraces her husband, William Matthew Schiffert, who's serving 75 years in prison. (MEN Media)

William, who has Heike’s names tattooed on his eyebrows, responded to her letter and the pair were pen pals for a year before Heike flew to Texas to meet him for the first time.

Mom-of-two Heike told the Daily Examiner that she wasn't a "lunatic" looking for "a guy in prison," but admits her family was strongly against her marrying the tattooed murderer in November 2012.

William, known as Matthew, was caged for 75 years for being a party to the murder of a man who was stabbed to death at a motel in Fort Worth in 2001.

Heike, who works as a bus driver for tourists, said he may be eligible to apply for parole in as little as two years.

They hope to move in together if he is released, but he won't be able to enter the UK due to his convictions and she is barred from the U.S. after overstaying a tourist visa.

Recalling how the couple’s romance began, Heike said: “My Christmas card went to a friend of my now-husband.

"The friend didn’t have time to write back but my husband said ‘I’ve got all the time in the world.’ He said as soon as he got the card he knew I was the one.”

The pair got married about four years later even though Heike's family, including her two adult daughters, don't approve of the relationship.

She said: “My family are not happy with me being married to him. It just doesn’t get talked about. My daughters are 32 and 30 -- they don’t want to know about him.

"It’s my life and it’s his life and he has been part of my life for several years. I didn’t go out to find a prisoner husband." She added: “I don’t like to give the impression that I’m one of those lunatic women that you see on TV programs that go out to find a guy in prison. That’s not how it happened."

Heike is now writing a book called "Child Convict" about her husband’s troubled life.