Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo appeared to be love’s young dream, a good-looking couple who would seem to have an ideal relationship but they were far from a match made in heaven. No one knew the level of evilness and deep dark secrets both held on their perfect wedding day which would just be going to turn to a darker side with their marriage and will ultimately become the Ken And Barbie Killers.

Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka on their wedding day

Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo

Karla Homolka, also known as Leanne Teale grew up in a small town and was the oldest child amongst her two other sisters in a family with a solid background. Karla was a normal child and was described as pretty, popular, kind, and a person everyone would want to be friends with.

In high school, Homolka’s sudden change in behavior struck her friends. She found it interesting to look at dead bodies and this fascination went to the next level when she dug up the grave of her dead pet in their backyard.

In 1987, Karla Homolka was working at a local vet store, and this is the time she met her partner whilst attending a pet store conference at a hotel in Toronto.

Paul Bernardo was a 23-year-old trainee accountant while Homolka was 17. It was an instant and fatal attraction when they met, and unlike the other partners, they both had, the two shared the same sick fantasies.

Paul Bernardo and Scarborough Rapist

The same year Homolka and Bernardo met, Scarborough city would be rocked by an unprecedented series of violent sexual assaults and rapes. The man behind these crimes would target lonely women and teenagers, attack and rape them and flee before alarms could be raised.

A dedicated task force was created to catch the rapist, but the investigators only baffled by the lack of any evidence in the case. The Scarborough rapes went on over the next three years reaching a total count of around 17 reported sexual assaults.

Nobody had any idea that the person behind these heinous crimes would be a young and charming man. Paul Bernardo was born in 1964 in Scarborough, after finishing high school he went to the university and eventually found his way into the charted accountant program and worked for an accounting firm.

He was a “financially well-off” confident man who had no doubts about himself. He was everything a girl like Karla Homolka would look for. But he wasn’t actually the Mr. Perfect as he seemed, nobody knew the face hidden behind his charming behavior.

Like many other serial killers and psychopaths, Bernardo was traumatized in childhood, after he found from his mother that the person he thought to be his biological father, wasn’t in reality and Paul actually was a result of an extramarital affair. Bernardo rather got angry at his mother and would often call her “whore” and “slob”.

As he grew older, his sexual needs became increasingly sordid. After he went to university, he would pick women from the bar, humiliate and beat them whilst engaging in sadistic sex. He was also caught several times as a peeping tom trying to peer into the neighbor’s windows. Most rejected him, that is until he met Karla Homolka.

After the 17 known assaults, the Scarborough rapist was careful to make sure his victims were unable to describe him, but in 1990, the elusive rapist let his guard down. He attacked another woman but this time it was from the front, which allowed his first glimpse ever and helped the authorities to create a composite drawing.

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Sketch of the Scarborough Rapist

The image was soon circulated and the police recieved a tip off that the sketch resembles strongly to a 25 year old local accountant, Paul Bernardo.

Bernardo was called for questioning at the police station. He told the police about his girlfriend, he seemed innocent and was able to convince them that he wasn’t the guy they were looking for. Being 1 out of 700 people the task force was taking interest in, the DNA samples proved that Bernardo was indeed the Scarborough rapist, but unfortunately not soon enough, it took two whole years.

Ken And Barbie Killers

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Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka

Bernardo and Homolka paired up to form a good-looking couple, but nobody knew about the sadomasochistic relationship they had. Karla was aware of Bernardo’s brutal rapes with teenage girls in Scarborough and he even had her approval.

In 1990, Bernardo was spending a lot of time with the Homolka family but although he was engaged to his willing girlfriend Karla, Bernardo was not satisfied. He had these things for virgins, and Homolka had boyfriends before Paul that kind of annoyed him. He complained to Karla about her not being a virgin, and to satisfy his fiancé, Karla would do anything.

Death of Tammy Homolka

Bernardo started pressuring Homolka into arranging for him to take the virginity of her baby sister, Tammy Homolka who was 15 years old at the time. Karla decided to gift her younger sister’s virginity to her boyfriend for christmas.

Karla stole anesthetic from the vet’s clinic where she worked and on 29th December 1990, with Karla’s parents still in the house, the two put their plan into action and got Tammy drunk. As she passed out they raped her in every gruesome and sickening way, whilst recording everything on a video cassette camera.

The unconscious 15-year-old started turning blue, she was chocking into her own vomit. Karla turned her upside down but Tammy died after a while. They quickly thought of a cover story before calling 911, the story was indeed accepted without a doubt and Tammy’s death was ruled out as an accident.

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Tammy Homolka (Left), Leslie Mahaffy (center) and Kristen French

Tammy’s death wasn’t the end of Karla and Paul’s deviant games, it would merely be the beginning of sickening new chapter.

Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French

They feigned a lot of remorse on Tammy’s death but continued to plan their dream wedding in June. Paul and Karla went ahead as planned on the 29th June 1991 as their marriage day. But unbeknown to onlookers as the happy couple smiled and posed for photographers, they were hiding another dark secret that was about to unfold soon.

On the same day, 14-years-old teenager, Leslie Mahaffy who had been missing from her home 2 weeks earlier had been found with her body parts dismembered and encased in cement by a canoeist.

Karla and Paul moved into a rented house in St. Catherines before their wedding day, and Bernardo’s twisted urges for young girls had not abated. It would be 14 years old Leslie Mahaffy who paid the price for Bernardo’s sick fantasies. On the night of 15th June, the schoolgirl was startled by Bernardo while she was not able to get into her house when she forgot her keys. Bernardo started a conversation and it resulted in Mahaffy’s abduction.

Over the next 36 hours, Bernardo assaulted his victims repeatedly, humiliating her in a very extreme way, whilst Homolka watched everything. After he had his way with her, Leslie’s life was taken, he strangled her, and then took the body in the basement where she kept her for a couple of days before hacking up the body into pieces, encasing those into concrete blocks and then dumping it into the Gibson lake.

Despite public horror and high profile police investigation, Bernardo and Homolka didn’t stop, and only paired up to hunt together for their next target. Kristen French, another teenage school girl was stopped and abducted while she was walking to her home from school. They kept her for 3 days, raping and assualting her while videotapping everything.

After 3 days of torture and sexual assault, Bernardo strangled Kristen, together he and Karla bathed and scrubbed the body, cut off her hair, and dumped her beside a country lane. By the time Kristen French’s naked, shorn body was discovered in a ditch in Burlington, everybody was on high alert.

Arrest and Aftermath

After the murder of Kristen French, Bernardo and Homolka’s relationship would begin to break down. He started living in his delusional world and started getting abusive with Karla, would beat her up and soon she left him.

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Paul Bernardo being taken out of the court

Homolka went to the police screaming about the violence on her by her husband, and the whole case began to crack. The DNA samples that the task force has taken 2 years earlier from the Scarborough rapes also finally surfaced. The police interrogated Karla and she agreed that Paul confessed to her about the Scarborough rapes which ultimately led to his arrest. Bernardo was no longer the quiet and nervous sort of individual and decided not to tell anything to the police.

Homolka however did talk, she admitted involvement in Bernardo’s killing of Leslie Mahaffy, Kristen French, and the death of her sister Tammy but claimed that she had been a battered wife and an unwilling accomplice. Homolka was offered a deal that if she testifies against her husband, she would receive a total of only 12 years in prison.

But before the trial began, another evidence surfaced that would show the self-proclaimed battered wife in a whole new light. These were the collection of shocking home videotapes found in the bathroom’s ceiling of their house. The videotapes included both Homolka and Bernardo with their victims, and the horrific ways in which the brutalized the 2 teenagers. This also included footage of Bernardo and Homolka raping unconscious Tammy Homolka.

It was certain that together, Paul and Kristen carried out the most horrific crimes in the history of Canada. But ultimately the deal Karla made with the prosecutor stood and she served just 12 years for her part in the crimes, whilst Paul Bernardo spends the rest of his life behind the bars.

Karla Homolka Now

One half of the deadly duo now walks the street free. Karla Homolka was released in 2005, married again and gave birth to 3 children. Paul Bernardo on the other hand is serving life and his application for parole after 25 years was rejected in just 30 minutes of deliberation on the accounts that he shows no indication whatsoever of remorse.

In 2007, a rumor emerged that Luka Magnotta, a high-profile murderer was in a relationship with Karla Homolka, though he denied this later.

Now that you have read about Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo, you might also like reading about Ariel Castro, who kept three young girls captive for more than a decade.