Paul Bernardo

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Paul Bernardo
Paul Bernardo.jpg
Full Name: Paul Kenneth Bernardo
Alias: Paul Jason Teale
The Scarborough Rapist
The Schoolgirl Killer
Origin: Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Occupation: Prisoner
Hobby: Killing and torturing women.
Crimes: Murder
Domestic abuse
Type of Villain: Serial Killer

Paul Kenneth Bernardo (born August 27, 1964), also known as Paul Jason Teale, is a Canadian serial killer and serial rapist. Bernardo is known for initially committing a series of rapes in Scarborough, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, between 1987 and 1990. He subsequently committed three brutal murders with his then-wife Karla Homolka; among these victims was his young sister-in-law Tammy Homolka. After his capture and conviction, Bernardo was sentenced to life imprisonment and was later declared a dangerous offender unlikely to be released.


Paul Bernardo's father, Kenneth, fondled a girl and was charged with child molestation in 1975, and he also sexually abused his daughter. Bernardo's mother, depressed about her husband's abuse, withdrew from family life and lived in the basement of their home in Scarborough, in eastern Metropolitan Toronto.

In his book Lethal Marriage, Nick Pron describes the young Bernardo: "He was always happy. A young boy who smiled a lot. And he was so cute; with his dimpled good looks and sweet smile, that many of the mothers just wanted to pinch him on the cheek whenever they saw him. He was the perfect child they all wanted; polite, well mannered, doing well in school, so sweet in his Boy Scout uniform."

Beneath the charming facade, however, Bernardo had developed dark sexual fantasies and enjoyed humiliating women in public and beating women he dated. When Bernardo was 16, his mother told him that he was conceived illegitimately during an extramarital affair. Disgusted, he began openly insulting her.

Bernardo attended Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, and then went to University of Toronto Scarborough in 1982, and worked for Amway, whose sales culture deeply affected him: "He bought the books and tapes of famous motivational get-rich-and-famous experts." Bernardo and his friends practiced pickup techniques on young women they met in bars, and were fairly successful.

In October 1987, he met Karla Homolka, and they were sexually attracted to each other almost immediately. Unlike the other women he knew, she encouraged his sadistic sexual behaviour. Bernardo was keenly interested in the 1991 Bret Easton Ellis novel, American Psycho, and "read it as his Bible"

Arrest, trial, and aftermath

Bernardo was tried for the murders of French and Mahaffy in 1995, and his trial included detailed testimony from Homolka and videotapes of the rapes. Bernardo testified that the deaths were accidental, later claiming that his wife was the actual killer. On September 1, 1995, Bernardo was convicted of a number of offences, including the two first-degree murders and two aggravated sexual assaults, and sentenced to life in prison without parole for at least 25 years. He was designated a dangerous offender, making him unlikely to ever be released.

In a plea bargain (a 12-year sentence for manslaughter), Homolka testified against Bernardo in his murder trial. The plea bargain was criticized by many Canadians, since Bernardo's first defence lawyer (Ken Murray) withheld videotapes for 17 months. They were considered crucial evidence, and prosecutors said that they would never have agreed to the plea bargain if they had seen the tapes. Murray was later acquitted of obstruction of justice and faced a disciplinary hearing by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Although Bernardo was kept in the segregation unit at Kingston Penitentiary for his own safety, he was attacked and harassed; he was punched in the face by another inmate when he returned from a shower in 1996. In June 1999, five convicts tried to storm his segregation range and a riot squad used gas to disperse them.

The Toronto Star reported on February 21, 2006, that Bernardo admitted sexually assaulting at least 10 other women in attacks not previously attributed to him. Most were in 1986, a year before what police called the reign of terror by the Scarborough Rapist. Authorities suspected Bernardo in other crimes, including a string of rapes in Amherst, New York, and the drowning of Terri Anderson in St. Catharines, but he has never acknowledged his involvement. Bernardo's lawyer, Anthony G. Bryant, reportedly forwarded the information to legal authorities in November 2005.

In 2006, Bernardo gave a prison interview suggesting that he had reformed and would make a good parole candidate. He became eligible to petition a jury to be allowed to apply for early parole in 2008 under the faint hope clause (since he committed multiple murders before the 1997 criminal-code amendment), but did not do so. In 2015, Bernardo became eligible (and applied) for day parole in Toronto. According to the victims' lawyer, Tim Danson, it is unlikely that Bernardo will ever be released from prison because of his dangerous offender status. In September 2013, he was moved from Kingston Penitentiary (which was closing) to Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ontario, where he is reportedly segregated from the other inmates.

Bernardo scored 35 out of 40 on the Psychopathy Checklist, a psychological assessment tool used to assess the presence of psychopathy in individuals. This is classified as clinical psychopathy. In November 2015, Bernardo self-published A MAD World Order, a violent, fictional, 631-page e-book on Amazon. By November 15, the book was reportedly an Amazon bestseller, but was removed from the website due to a public outcry.

In October 2018, Bernardo had been set to go to trial for possession of a "shank" weapon while incarcerated (a 5 cm long screw attached to a pen). However, the prosecution dropped the charges due to their determination that there was no reasonable probability of conviction.

Bernardo became eligible for parole in February 2018. On 17 October 2018, he was denied day and full parole by the Parole Board of Canada.