A serial killer, also guilty of torturing and raping his victims as part of an evil duo, is up for parole and his victims’ families are terrified.
Paul Bernardo along with his teenage wife, Karla Homolka, committed a series of violent attacks in Canada in the late 1980s, including the rape and murder of Karla’s own little sister.
Bernardo’s chiseled jaw and handsome face, paired with Karla’s long blonde hair earned the pair the nickname the ‘Ken and Barbie Killers’.
Together they would go on to commit numerous attacks that were said to satisfy Bernardo’s sadistic sexual fantasies. Bernardo had already committed 16 violent sexual attacks - including hiding in a 15-year-old’s bedroom before biting her ear and face and stabbing her in the buttocks - before he met Karla.
After they got together Bernardo used Karla to help him satisfy a violent fantasy about Karla’s 14-year-old sister, Tammy.
After drugging her sister, Karla stood by while Bernardo raped her. Tammy is believed to have woken up and then started to choke on her own vomit. The couple panicked and rang an ambulance, re-dressed Tammy, and tried to pass it off as an accident, which was initially believed.
A year later Karla lured a 15-year-old girl to her house, fed her dinner laced with a sedative, and served her up to her violent husband to rape.
In 1991, Bernardo met Leslie Mahaffey, 14, who had apparently been locked outside by her parents as punishment for coming home late. He lured her to the car before forcing her inside, taking her home, where the Ken and Barbie killers filmed the rape and torture of the teen.
Leslie did not survive the incident, however how she died became a matter of contention. Bernardo claimed that Karla had overdosed the girl with sedatives, while Karla says Bernardo strangled her.
The couple chopped Leslie’s body up and hid it in cement blocks on the bank of a river which were discovered a month later by a group of people canoeing.
Despite being suspected of the crime, Bernardo wasn’t arrested and 9 months later the couple lured another girl into their car - pretending to need directions.
Kristen French, 15, was kidnapped over the Easter weekend that year, forced to drink alcohol, aggressively assaulted, and murdered. Her body was found discarded in a ditch 11 days later.
The couple were arrested in 1993, DNA evidence from Kristen French’s attack was crucial in proving Bernardo guilty. Karla testified against him and served 12 years for her involvement. After her release she changed her name and returned to the community.
Paul Bernardo was never expected to be released, however he may be up for parole next year and the news of his application for day release has terrified the family of Leslie Mahaffey and Kristen French.
The families’ lawyers are working on victim impact statement in the hopes that Bernardo will be unsuccessful in his parole hearing.