Paul Kenneth Bernardo, also known as the "Scarborough Rapist," is a notorious Canadian serial killer and rapist who gained national notoriety in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Born in Scarborough, Ontario in 1964, Bernardo had a seemingly normal childhood and adolescence, but he would eventually become one of Canada's most infamous killers.
Bernardo's criminal activities began in 1987, when he began a series of rapes and sexual assaults in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto. At the time, police were aware of a serial rapist in the area, but they had no idea who he was. Bernardo's first known victim was a woman named Maureen Harbord, whom he raped in her own home. He went on to attack several other women in the area, always wearing a ski mask to conceal his identity.
Bernardo's crimes escalated in 1990, when he met a woman named Karla Homolka. The two began a relationship and eventually got married, but they shared a dark secret: they were both sexual sadists who enjoyed torturing and killing young girls. Together, they committed a series of brutal murders that shocked Canada and the world.
Their first victim was Homolka's younger sister, Tammy, whom they drugged and raped on Christmas Eve in 1990. Tammy died as a result of the overdose, but Bernardo and Homolka were never charged with her murder. Their next victim was a 14-year-old girl named Leslie Mahaffy, whom they abducted from outside her home in June 1991. They kept her captive in their home for several days, torturing and sexually assaulting her before finally killing her and dismembering her body.
Just a few weeks later, Bernardo and Homolka struck again, this time kidnapping a 15-year-old girl named Kristen French. They held her captive for several days, subjecting her to horrific abuse before finally killing her and dumping her body in a nearby ditch.
Despite their best efforts to evade detection, Bernardo and Homolka were eventually caught in 1993 when Homolka confessed to her involvement in the murders. She struck a plea deal with prosecutors and agreed to testify against Bernardo in exchange for a lighter sentence. Bernardo was subsequently convicted of murder and several other charges and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Since his conviction, Bernardo has maintained his innocence and claimed that Homolka was the real mastermind behind the murders. He has also been linked to several other unsolved murders and disappearances in the Toronto area, but he has never been charged in connection with these cases.
In addition to his crimes, Bernardo is known for his bizarre and disturbing behavior, both during his trial and in prison. He has made several unsuccessful attempts to appeal his conviction and has been disciplined several times for various infractions, including possessing pornography and smuggling in a cell phone.
Overall, Paul Bernardo's crimes represent some of the most heinous and shocking in Canadian history. His legacy as a serial killer and rapist continues to haunt the country to this day, and his story serves as a chilling reminder of the dangers of sexual violence and the depravity of the human psyche.