Love has strange ways, sometimes downright sordid. And people can go to extraordinary lengths - at times, to abominable extents - to hold on to the ones they love, or so it seems from what Karla Homolka repeatedly agreed to do for the man she seemed to love more than anything else - Paul Bernardo. The demands were outrageous and could have been repulsive to anyone except to the person they were made to - Karla.
Karla was 17 when she met 23-year-old Paul at a pet convention in Toronto. He looked charming, smart and a smooth talker. They got along well right away; in fact, so very well that they had sex on the day they met. They found each other sexually very compatible, as both of them shared the same sado-masochistic desires, with Paul taking the position of the master with Karla turning into a very willing slave. She fell deeply in love with this man of strange desires and a fun-person to be with. She got obsessed with fulfilling Paul's every desire, every single fantasy, which became the primary reason for the unspeakable monstrosities they committed together.
Over the next few years, as the relationship between Paul and Karla intensified, Paul committed a number of rapes with the willing approval of Karla and was soon infamous as the 'Scarborough Rapist' in the Toronto suburbs. Paul would attack unsuspecting women getting off the buses and commit brutal anal rape on them with different degrees of humiliation thrown in. However, nobody had been killed that far though having started in 1987, Paul had sexually assaulted some 11 women by 1988.
The police had gathered a good amount of physical evidence from Paul's victims, and they also had a sufficiently reliable composite sketch of the offender. However, the police for some reason did not reveal the sketch for the public to see though they had circulated among the policemen in the region. The decision to not allow the general public to see the sketch soon enough could be one of the reasons why Paul could not be nailed any earlier than he was. All this while when Paul was the infamous rapist, Karla knew every bit of what he was doing and kept encouraging him. There was a victim who also claimed that there was a woman with a camera with the assailant. The police thought it was just hysteria caused by the traumatic experience that made the lady recall things that were unlikely to be there. However, in light of the facts that emerged later, the possibility of Karla filming some of these acts is strong enough.
One of Paul's ex-girlfriends had approached the police and had reported the violent abuses she had suffered at Paul's hands, but the police did not make much of it though had they paid enough attention they could have picked a pattern matching that of the 'Scarborough Rapist'. There were quite a number of similarities between the accounts presented by the rape victims, which resulted in a composite sketch, which was revealed to the public only in 1990, which was years after the rapes began. The picture appeared together with the declaration of a $150,000 reward, which led to series of leads flooding in from all sides.
By that time Paul had already left his job with the accounting firm, Price Waterhouse, but his colleagues there were surprised at how closely the sketch resembled Paul. As a consequence a good number of Paul's acquaintances approached the police resulting in Detective Constable Steve Irwin of Toronto's Metropolitan Police paying a visit to Paul. However, Irwin's idea of a serial rapist was much too different for Paul to fit in. So, luckily for Paul, it was Irwin's pre-conceived notions about serial rapists that let Paul off the hook. Almost. That's because despite not being very convinced about Paul's being the serial rapist, Irwin took his saliva, blood and hair samples for forensic testing. Out of a total 230 samples, only 5 matched that of the attacker. And Paul was one of them. However, since the rapist appeared to have vanished having been inactive for more than a year, the priority the case had enjoyed two years ago was on a rapid decline and soon it took a back seat giving a breather to Paul.
With every passing day it was getting progressively unlikely for the police to catch hold of Paul for the series of rapes that he had committed. Paul should have been thankful and should have gotten on with his life without returning to his criminal ways. But then, he was emboldened and was also not content with whatever he was getting from Karla. The one complaint that Paul had always had with her was that she was not a virgin when they first met. Karla could not have reversed the past. So, she decided to bring in a replacement. The surrogate virgin that she had chosen for the purpose was none other than her own 15-year-old younger sister - Tammy.
Karla was aware that Paul found Tammy attractive, which was another reason why she chose her own sister for the cruel act to make Paul happy.
Karla's jaundiced outlook did not allow her to see the monstrosity of the act. And all that she saw in the scheme was a good plan to make Paul happy, minimize risk and to keep it all in the family. An unsuspecting Tammy was served spaghetti laced with halothane, an anaesthetic agent begotten from Karla's workplace, the Martindale Veterinarian Clinic. After Tammy was unconscious, Karla started taping unconscious Tammy as Paul started committing rape on her. However, due to influence of the drug Tammy had been made to consume she started vomiting, choked on her vomit and died. Paul and Karla removed all evidence from the scene and brought her into the basement bedroom before calling the police. The police were told that it was an accident and despite Paul's attempt at reviving her, Tammy could not be saved. The case was closed as 'accident' by the police. Paul blamed Karla for the death and criticized her for incompetent handling of the drug.
However, that was not the end of the story and Leslie Mahaffy became Paul's second victim by sheer bad luck. Leslie was temperamentally very independent and free-spirited girl, who disliked restrictions.
Paul stole license plates to facilitate his work of cigarette smuggling, which was his primary source of income those days. On 15th June 1991, just a couple of weeks prior to his wedding with Karla, when Paul was looking for license plates to steal, he found Leslie standing at the door of her own house in Burlington at around two in the morning. She was trying to get into her house without waking her parents up. The two talked for a short while and Leslie agreed to go with Paul to his car for cigarette. Paul forced her into the car and took her to his place 53 kilometers away, where he and Karla kept her hostage for over 24 hours and sexually assaulted her all the while repeatedly. Much of the assault was recorded on tape. The duo eventually killed her, after which they kept her body in the basement prior to dismembering the body with a saw and disposing the body parts encased in cement blocks in Lake Gibson, where they were discovered by a couple on June 29.
Kristen French became the third victim when, having spotted her, Karla and Paul entered St. Catharines Church, and asked for directions pretending to have lost their way. French stepped out to help the two, which is when Paul forced her inside the car threatening her with a knife. Many people saw it happen, astonished at the daring act.
French was taken to Port Dalhousie, and was kept there for three days during which she was repeatedly raped, and finally killed. Later, when the time of the testimony came both Paul and Karla would accuse each other of killing French. Her body was later left in a ditch in Burlington, where it was found on April 30, 1992.
Police had taken French disappearance seriously, and the matter came under sincere investigation right away.
In May 1992, the Green Ribbon Task Force was put together to probe the deaths of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French. And in December 1992 the DNA samples taken from Paul three years back were finally tested at the Centre of Forensic Sciences.
And on December 27, 1992, Paul hit Karla with flashlight leaving her bruised in the head, face and limbs. She was badly injured but claimed that the injuries resulted from a road accident. But her co-workers did not believe her version and informed her parents, who took her with them, and had her admitted to St. Catharines General Hospital. Her injuries were documented and she claimed to be a battered spouse and went ahead to press charges against Paul, who was arrested as a consequence but later released.
The DNA test finally resulted in Paul's being identified as the 'Scarborough Rapist'. Karla was willing to help the police in exchange of a reduced sentence. A 12-year sentence plea bargain was struck. The investigators did search Paul's place but could not find most of the tapes, which meant that Karla's portrayal of herself as an abused spouse who was forced into cooperating with her husband was largely trusted and relied upon by the police. Much later, when the rest of the tapes were discovered, it was revealed that Karla was not the 'sorry wife' that she presented herself as, but was a very willing partner in the crimes, who derived as much pleasure as the principal offender. However, the plea bargain had already been concluded and Karla had kept her share of the bargain, so the plea bargain stood valid and could not be withdrawn or annulled at that stage.
Therefore, while Paul was sentenced for life, Karla got a 12-year-imprisonment for manslaughter.