Besotted Brit Becci Thompson has talked exclusively to The Sun about her new husband – an inmate and former white supremacist with “Hatred” tattooed on his forehead.
The 31-year-old mom of four flew to San Diego to marry American convict Travis Thompson in jail ten days ago.
It was only the eighth time they had ever met, but Becci believes it is the best relationship of her life and reckons he will be a fantastic father to her young children.
Becci, a caregiver, from Surrey, England says: “You can’t help who you fall in love with. He’s a lot more understanding than any of my exes.”
“Obviously the circumstances aren’t ideal, but I feel amazing when I’m with him.”
Heavily-tattooed Travis, 33, is serving eight years and seven months for burglary and gun offenses. He was recently moved to the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility. He is due to be released in 2023 but Becci is hoping he will get out earlier on good behavior.
She can’t wait for his release so they can start a new life together. And despite his crime sheet, she reckons the “goofy, sweet, caring” Travis will be a great father to her children, aged 9, 7, 6, and 5.
Becci, who split from their father five years ago, says: “My kids have never had a good relationship with men. Their dad doesn’t do too much with them. It’ll be nice for them to have a male figure in their lives.”
“Travis is really excited about being a dad to my kids. He says he’s a big kid himself. And one day we’d like to have kids of our own.”
“He knows he’s made mistakes. People do bad stuff, they get punished for it, they move on, they learn the lesson. Yes, he did something stupid but he’s doing his time.”
“I wouldn’t have married him if he was a murderer. Obviously, I have my children to think of.”
The couple’s wedding day on November 16 was certainly unusual. The bride wore a red and purple skull-print dress. The groom was in his blue prison uniform. There were no bridesmaids, no aisle, and no best man’s speech — but for Becci it was still touching.
She says: “We did our vows and Travis said really sweet, soppy stuff about how much he loves me. I told him I’ll always stand by him.”
“I haven’t slept with him yet. We do talk about it. It will happen, probably next time I see him. It’s a bit nerve-racking but it’s just like the first kiss. You build up to it.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
And at least the ceremony was not in the groom’s previous jail, Mule Creek State Prison, whose most notorious inmate was Charles Manson. The cult leader, who died a year ago, also had a tattoo on his forehead — of a swastika.
For Becci, who has changed her surname on Facebook from Brennan to Thompson, it was love at first write with the American inmate.
She explains: “This all started three years ago when a group came up on Facebook about writing to people on death row. Being crime-obsessed I started doing that. These people just want a friend. It must be lonely for them.”
At the moment she has four prison pen pals. Her first was a killer who has been inside since 1987.
She says: “I do have my limits. I won’t write to a prisoner who has committed a child-related offense.”
“Even though these guys have done some really bad stuff they are still human.”
“I feel I’m doing something good. It’s about offering friendship. I started writing to Travis two years ago. We clicked straight away. We’ve got a lot in common. We’re both artists, I do portraits and he does tattoos. We have the same taste in music — rock and metal.”
“But more than anything we think the same. He’s just a really sweet guy. His mom was dying when we started writing to each other. He had no one to talk to. He used to pour his heart out in letters.”
“He couldn’t show any weakness in prison because they use it against you. I was his escape and insight into the real world.”
Becci believes she is wise to the ways of some prisoners who are only out to scam loved-up ladies.
She says: “It’s called a Pen Game. The inmates convince vulnerable women they are in a relationship to get them to send money to them. One girl said she sent $1,000 to someone.”
“So when Travis started throwing his feelings around I was concerned. But he’s always said he’d have been happy if it never went past the pen pal stage because I’ve made such a positive impact on his life. He’s never asked me for any money.”
Not troubled by her husband’s criminal past, Becci also looked past the fact that while in jail he joined a racist gang.
She says: “He was in a white supremacist gang. It’s a protection thing in jail. They brainwash you. You’ve got a lot of angry people in there. You’ve got people in for murder, people who’ve done really awful things who are in there for life. It’s the battle for who’s the toughest. He doesn’t believe in what they believe.”
“When he realized it was about power, money and control he decided it wasn’t for him. That’s when he decided to be an inactive member.”
“He tries to keep to himself now. He’s been doing a lot of meditation recently.”
When she realized she also had feelings for Travis, Becci broke up with her boyfriend.
She says: “On one of our 15-minute phone calls, Travis said, ‘I love you’ and I said, ‘I love you too.’ We hadn’t met by that point.”
“You question your sanity a bit. I thought, ‘Is this possible?’ But he’s the sweetest guy. He’s caring, lovely. He’s goofy when he wants to be.”
“If I’m stressed out he’ll pick up on it straight away and ask what’s wrong. He’ll try to calm me down or give me direction on how he thinks I should act. He calls me ‘babe’ and I call him ‘my headache’. We’ve got other nicknames, but they’re rude.”
“We are really jokey with each other. He’s got a brilliant sense of humor. It’s the best relationship I’ve ever had.”
When Travis popped the question during one of their phone calls, Becci followed her heart.
She says: “It’s either going to work or it could go wrong — just like any relationship. I never thought I’d get married in prison but we didn’t want to wait.”
Being married means the couple are allowed a “family visit,” meaning they can spend two nights together in a facility on the prison grounds.
Becci says: “They’re strict about contact at the prison. We thought it would be nice to spend some proper time together and not have the guards breathing down our necks.”
Not everyone has been pleased for the new bride. She says: “I’ve had a lot of criticism. I was made to look like I’d just abandoned my kids and gone off to marry a big scary felon, which is not the case.”
“The kids didn’t come with me because prison wasn’t the place to bring them. Travis wants to meet them when he’s not inside. He doesn’t want them to see him as a prisoner.”
“People do look at me a bit differently in the playground, but it’s not been too bad. The hate is mostly from people I don’t know. I’m pretty thick-skinned, I don’t care what people think unless they know me.
“To the haters I’d say just get on with your lives. Others have been really supportive. My mum, unfortunately, is really against it.”
Admitting that her hubby does look “scary”, Becci says: “A lot of people are intimidated by him. He’s a big guy — six foot two inches — and very muscly. And he’s covered head-to-toe in tattoos. They don’t bother me at all. Once you start speaking to him you don’t see the tattoos. Even the ‘Hatred’ one.”
“He got that when he was in a bad place. He wants to get it removed. The dream is for us to be in the same country. We want to open up a tattoo parlor together we could both work in. He wants to be with us and try to have a normal life.”
Criminals hoping to come to the UK from overseas must declare their convictions with a Criminal Record Certificate and their applications are subject to Home Office approval and could be refused.
The Home Office said it did not comment on individual cases.
Undaunted, Becci says: “We just have to take each day as it comes. That’s all anyone can do in any relationship. Nothing is set in stone.”
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