I fell in love with my penpal US prisoner – only to find he’d been ‘unfaithful’ and was writing to other women too… story in the SUNDAY MIRROR
Mum of one Chelsea, 20, began writing to a US prisoner as a friend
But she fell in love with him
Her partner left her when he realised how deep her feelings were for a man she’d never met
Chelsea was going to wait for 12 years until the convict was released
But then she discovered he was writing to other women – and she was devastated
Chelsea Woodhall 20 has always wanted to help others. So when in April 2018 she stumbled on a website about becoming a penpal to a US prisoner, she decided to start writing. The man, Andrew, she began writing to was jailed for 12 years for aggravated burglary and he was alone in the world. He was so thrilled that she contacted him.
Soon they were writing a lot and Chelsea, who had just had a baby with her partner, began to confide all her day to day worries in him too. It got to the point where she was just thinking about him.
Her ‘relationship’ soon caused problems with her son’s dad. He wanted her to stop writing to the prisoner. He accused Chelsea of spending more time talking to a man she’d never met than him. Chelsea admitted she was falling in love with the prisoner. It was the final straw for their rocky relationship and the couple split.
By now Chelsea had admitted her feelings. She couldn’t understand how she could fall in love with a man she’d never met and never even kissed, but she had done. Andrew said she was the only woman in his life. In return she said she’d wait for him to be released from prison – then they could be together either in the UK or in the States.
Every week put £40 on his phone so he had enough credit to ring her. In them the pair declared how much they loved one another and planned their future.
Chelsea was part of a Facebook group of similar women who also wrote to the prisoners. It was then one day after she posted something about Andrew that another woman on Facebook said she too had been writing to them. Chelsea was devastated when the woman posted photos Andrew had sent to her too. When they spoke, this woman claimed she had been asked for more money by Andrew and he’d sent her very aggressive messages. She added Andrew already had a girlfriend in the US.
Chelsea felt ‘betrayed’ as if Andrew was unfaithful.
She has since found out although many of the men on the website are genuine, many UK women are being scammed. On the Facebook group it turned out one inmate was talking to over 70 UK women and many of them were, like Chelsea, sending him money on a regular basis.
Chelsea wants to raise awareness of this scam, which many women are too embarrassed to report.
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