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One of the most horrifying and controversial in Canadian history is the crimes of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. They are also known as Ken and Barbie killers and are an unlikely pair of Canadian killers. Paul Bernado with the help of his wife stalked the Canadian suburb with many terrible rapes. He was a salesman by trade who lured his female victims using pickups and pitches. He read the novel American Psycho “like his bible” when he met and married Karla Homolka. His sadistic behavior increased when she started to encourage him. Paul Bernado was found to be responsible for at least 13 rapes and 4 killings. 

Paul Bernado’s early life

He was born to Kenneth and Marilyn Bernardo on August 27th, 1964 in Ontario, Canada. His family was financially well-off and a stable middle class. When Paul was 9 years old, his father was charged with child molestation. There were even rumors saying that he molested his own daughter. His mother became depressed over the abuse of her husband and withdrew from the family life and lived in the basement of their Scarborough home. Paul Bernardo was described as a happy boy who smiled a lot. He was a perfect child all wanted as he was polite, mannered, doing well and sweet. 

When he was 16 years old, there was an argument between his parents and his mother told him about his actual parentage, so he started to call his mother “slob” and “whore”. 

Paul Bernado’s Changes

He graduated from Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute and opt to work for Amway. This sales culture had a deep effect on him. He and his friends practiced techniques on young women they met. When he attended the University of Toronto Scarborough, he developed dark sexual fantasies and enjoyed humiliating women in public and he beat the women he dated. 

When he was 23 years old, he met Karla Homolka, a 17-year girl in October 1987, and they became sexually interested in each other. Two of them got strongly attracted to each other. She encouraged his sadistic behavior.

Paul Bernado, the Scarborough rapist

Paul Bernado, the Scarborough rapist

He was a handsome and charming guy, so was able to lure and manipulate women. Scarborough, Ontario was haunted by a series of crimes in 1987. In the early hours of the morning of May 4th, 1987, a young woman who got off the bus was snatched and brutally raped. And in the same week, there were two more similar assaults. The women fit the same profile and the rapes included beatings, blood, and verbal abuse. The authorities found that it was the same man who did them, and so the local newspapers described him as the “Scarborough Rapist”.  

Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka’s relationship

In just five years, Paul Bernado raped and attempted to rape 19 young women where many were grabbed near bus stops, and some were attacked in their own houses. 

Homolka knew that he was a Scarborough rapist and approved of his crimes, feeling no guilt. They both got engaged and Bernardo was getting bored of Homolka. He found interest in her 15-year-old sister, Tammy. Homolka was fine in presenting her younger sister to him as a gift for Christmas.

Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka


On December 23rd, 1990, there was a party at home. Homolka had an animal anesthetic she stole from her workplace and spiked her sister Tammy’s drink. she held a cloth soaked in halothane over her sister’s mouth and took turns in raping her with Bernardo while videotaping it. Tammy started to vomit, and the couple panicked and tried hiding the evidence. She was taken away in an ambulance. At the hospital, she was pronounced dead, and her death was ruled an accident caused by alcohol poisoning

They got married

They got married on June 29th, 1991. On the same day, a traumatized couple found concrete blocks of human parts while canoeing in Lake Gibson. It was found to belong to a 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy who disappeared on June 15th. 

How did he get caught?

Paul Bernando got caught

On 1992, April 16th, both of them abused and killed a 15-year-old. The police found the connection between these murders and did a sketch of the murderer. A colleague of Paul told the authorities about Paul the tales of his disturbing love for violence.

In 1993, Homolka left Bernardo. After a month, a DNA sample taken proved that Paul Bernardo was the Scarborough Rapist. He was finally arrested in 1993 February. Homolka claimed that her husband raped more than 30 women and said that she itself was a victim.

But the videotapes showed the truth and so she was sent to prison. She got released in 2005 and started her new family with her new husband. Paul Bernardo was sentenced to life in prison. 25 years later in 2018, his parole was denied. 

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