Harsh reality of jail hits Becker

Tennis legend Boris Becker’s time in prison has begun on a rough note with the six-time Grand Slam champion ‘shocked’ by the alleged lack of hygiene and quality of food on service at Wandsworth Prison. Becker is spending time in prison after he was hiding for assets during his bankruptcy proceedings, which began in 2017.

The former World No.1 was found guilty on four counts of the Insolvency Act – removal of property, two counts of failing to disclose estate, and concealing debt. He was sent to prison for two-and-a-half years but will likely spend 15 months in jail and then serve the rest of his term on license.

Tough time in jail

The start of the German’s prison term has not been a good one. Becker is said to be having a tough time dealing with the cramped nature of the prison as well as the quality and quantity of food. Becker, known for his love for Cuban cigars, fine wines and restaurants, now has a £10 a week allowance in prison.

“He is having a rough time and the worst thing of all is the food. He cannot believe how bad it is and how small the portions are. One of his first meals was corned beef, which wasn’t good. But he will have to get used to it. He is also shocked at the lack of hygiene at the prison because it’s so overcrowded,” said someone close to Becker, according to The Sun. The article also stated that he was unable to sleep due to the ‘constant noise’ and stnch of the Wandsworth prison.
Becker is supposed to stay in his own cell – a six square meter room where he remains from 8PM to 7AM. He has not been required to share his cell and will likely be moved to a ‘softer’ jail within weeks.

The start of the German’s prison term has not been a good one. Becker is said to be having a tough time dealing with the cramped nature of the prison as well as the quality and quantity of food. (File)

Family in agony

Becker’s wife from his second marriage spoke about how difficult the legend’s incarceration has been on his family, particularly his youngest son. In an interview with British TV personality Piers Morgan, Lilly Becker said that the court proceedings had been kept from his 12-year-old son Amadeus, but now the details were being revealed to the child.

“I had no chance but to break my heart or his heart last Sunday and I don’t wish this upon anybody. It was the hardest thing I had to do with a 12-year-old. He just couldn’t grasp it. He still can’t,” said Lilly on TalkTV’s Piers Morgan Uncensored. She added, “I have just told a 12-year-old that his father is in jail and the saddest part was I couldn’t break it down because these kids are now going on YouTube and the internet. The internet is cruel.”

Becker’s woes could worsen after the British Home Office confirmed that there was a possibility that the German, who is believed to have not taken British citizenship, will be deported. (File)

When asked what her reaction was to the judge’s verdict of a two-and-a-half-year sentence, Lilly said that she broke down upon hearing the news and expected the ruling to be lighter on Becker.

Deportation looms

Becker’s woes could worsen after the British Home Office confirmed that there was a possibility that the German, who is believed to have not taken British citizenship, will be deported.

When Britain exited the European Union, they launched stricter immigration laws. Becker could therefore either be tried under the UK Borders Act, 2007 or its updated version, which was triggered on December 31, 2020.

If the home ministry believes that Becker’s criminal conduct took place after December 31, 2020 (the date the Brexit agreements between the European Union and UK came into effect) as well, they are within their rights to immediately expel him from the country. This is because his sentence is longer than 12 months and the new law gives the Home Office the right to deport a foreign national on the basis of how long they have been in jail.

This is where the current law is stricter than the previous version of Britain’s immigration laws. Britain’s political optics mean that any chance to show a strong anti-immigrant stance by the ruling government is taken with open arms. The cost of litigation could also go up to £30,000, according to experts.

Former Tennis player Boris Becker with Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro as they arrive at Southwark Crown Court for sentencing in London, Friday, April 29, 2022. Becker was found guilty earlier by dodging his financial obligations to disclose information to settle his debts.(AP Photo /Alastair Grant)

“He (Becker) could attempt to resist deportation on human rights grounds but we have seen young black men who have lived in the UK far longer than Becker has, sometimes since early childhood, deported for lower sentences than Becker received,” said Colin Yeo , an immigration barrister, to The Guardian.

Otherwise, Becker could benefit from the protection of the EU-UK withdrawal agreement. The agreement wouldn’t stop him from getting deported by the Home Office but his legal chances to stay in the country would be higher since he would be tried under the previous law and the chances of deportation based on jail time are lesser.

Documentary on the way

For the last three years, camera crews have been following Becker and his protracted case. The German has provided interviews to the crew and there is soon set to be a bidding war between streaming giants to gain access to the documentary rights.

The film is set to be directed by Oscar-winning documentary-maker Alex Gibney, who won the award for the 2007 true-crime documentary Taxi to the Dark Side. According to The Independent, the cameras have followed Becker from 2019, when the extent of the German’s financial woes came to light, to as recently as the court judgment that decided Becker to jail.

Speaking about why the documentary would be a significant piece of work, Gibney said, “It is both a candid insider’s look at the world of professional tennis and it is also a poignant portrait of the man himself.”

“Like the Rudyard Kipling quote at the entrance to Wimbledon Center Court, Boris is an individual who appears to ‘meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same.'”

.

Leave a Comment