Paul Bernardo plans to marry Ontario woman
TORONTO -- From a prison cell, serial sex killer Paul Bernardo has charmed and manipulated an attractive, university-educated woman into planning to marry him, QMI Agency has learned.
The 30-year-old London, Ont., woman admitted she has been writing letters to the Scarborough Rapist, telling friends the schoolgirl killer is "innocent" and was a bystander to the rapes and torture slayings of Kristen French, 15, and Leslie Mahaffy, 14.
She's been corresponding with Bernardo since last fall. But with the relationship now coming to light, the woman said she "did something that got people upset and she is rethinking ... and struggling with it."
The bride-to-be told friends she has wedding bands.
"He is a kind man, a Christian, a very nice man," she told QMI Agency.
An independent source confirmed the woman, whom QMI Agency has decided not to identify at this time, took steps to advance a plan to wed Bernardo. However, her parents insisted their daughter is reconsidering the decision as "reality has set in."
Her father said the woman's intelligence, emotional fragility and belief in her own street smarts made her the perfect victim for Bernardo.
"She has had a number of bad relationships that undermined her self-esteem despite her brilliance. She is looking for someone who will love her unconditionally."
He and his wife learned earlier this year she had been writing letters to Bernardo to "research" a book.
When they confronted her, "we believed that was the end of it," her dad said.
A few months ago a friend of the woman noticed something new on her left ankle -- "Paul's girl" tattooed in scroll.
In an interview, the woman insisted the tattoo referred to a high school friend -- not Bernardo. But a friend who knew her since their university days, disagreed.
"She did mention she was seeing somebody named Paul, that he had done some time. She made it sound like he was a working accountant in Toronto and they had wedding bands," the friend revealed.
Bernardo, 50, is serving a life sentence for the first-degree murders of the two schoolgirls. He was declared a dangerous offender in 1995 after pleading guilty to 32 sex-related crimes, including 12 rapes in the east end of Toronto dating to 1987.
Bernardo turned down a request to be interviewed.
Due to privacy legislation, Corrections Service of Canada (CSC) cannot confirm or deny nuptial plans for an inmate.
The CSC said inmates can marry while behind bars if a management team assesses "it would not pose a risk to the security of the institution, staff and public."
In Canada, all inmates, with the exception of those on disciplinary restrictions or at risk for family violence or identified as Special Handling Unit cases, are permitted 72 hours of "private family visits" once every two months. Eligible visitors include spouses. Staff members have regular contact with the inmate and visitors to protect the visitors.
Bernardo is eligible for full parole in 2018, but due to his notoriety, it is unlikely he'll be ever paroled.
Chronology of key events in Paul Bernardo's reign of terror.
November 1987: Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka meet in the restaurant at a Howard Johnson's hotel in Scarborough, in east-end Toronto
May 29, 1990: Composite drawing of Scarborough Rapist, Bernardo, runs on Toronto Sun front page and Bernardo soon moves to Homolka's home in St. Catharines, Ont., and Scarborough Rapist's reign of terror ends.
Dec. 24, 1990: Karla's younger sister, Tammy, dies suddenly at her parents St. Catharines home. It was a joint drugging and raping, but the death was erroneously ruled accidental.
February 1991: Bernardo and Homolka move to Bayview Dr. in Port Dalhousie, Ont.
June 15, 1991: Leslie Mahaffy, 14, disappears after being abducted by Bernardo outside her Burlington, Ont., home.
June 29, 1991: Mahaffy's remains pulled from Lake Gibson, south of St. Catharines.
June 29, 1991: Bernardo and Homolka are married in glitzy wedding in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
April 16, 1992: Kristen French, 15, is abducted on her way home from school in St. Catharines.
April 30, 1992: French's body is found in a ditch in Burlington, only 500 yards from Mahaffy's grave.
Jan. 5, 1993: Homolka flees the marital home after Bernardo beats her with a flashlight.
Feb. 17, 1993: Bernardo is arrested and later charged.
May 18, 1993: Homolka is charged with two counts of manslaughter in the French and Mahaffy slayings.
Feb. 25, 1994: Homolka is granted a divorce from Bernardo on grounds of physical and mental cruelty.
July 6, 1993: Homolka pleads guilty to manslaughter and receives a 12-year sentence.
June 19, 1995: Homolka begins 17 days of testimony against Bernardo at his trial.
September 1995: Bernardo is found guilty of all charges, including two counts of first-degree murder and is sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of parole until Feb. 17, 2018.
November 1995: Bernardo consents to being declared a dangerous offender and an indeterminate sentence, pleading guilty to 32 sex-related crimes, including a dozen Scarborough Rapist crimes, some dating to May 1987.
March 2000: Ontario Court of Appeal dismisses Bernardo's appeal.
September 2000: Supreme Court of Canada refused to order a new trial, meaning Bernardo will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
September 2013: Kingston Penitentiary closes after 178 years of operation and Bernardo is reportedly moved to nearby Millhaven. CSC refuses to confirm or deny the location of any inmates due to privacy rules.
Fall of 2013: London woman starts writing Bernardo letters and a relationship begins between her and Bernardo.
- Compiled by Sam Pazzano