Canada's 'symbol of evil' who helped husband kill girls is freed
Wednesday 06 July 2005
Dodging waiting reporters, Homolka, 35, left a prison on the outskirts of Montreal on Monday. After her lawyers had unsuccessfully petitioned the courts to protect her from the press on her release, Ms Homolka drove directly to a television studio and gave an interview. Under a deal brokered with prosecutors at her 1993 trial, Homolka was found guilty of manslaughter and given a reduced sentence of 12 years after agreeing to testify against her former husband. She claimed she was a battered wife who had been forced to participate in the three killings.
The contrast between the depravity of the crimes and the brevity of the sentence continues to sit badly with many Canadians. Soon after the plea agreement, lawyers for her husband, Paul Bernado, handed over video tapes the couple made seemingly showing Homolka as a willing participant. At the trial in Toronto, the court was told Bernado and Homolka had kidnapped two teenage girls, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, then raped, sexually tortured and finally killed both. The case, with all of its vivid details of the crimes, challenged the innocence of Canada and its assumption at the time that crimes so heinous belonged south of the border, rather than in its own society.
Homolka was also convicted of the death in 1990 of her 15-year-old younger sister, Tammy, whom she had offered as a sexual gift to her husband. The girl suffocated on her vomit after the couple made her unconscious by placing a drug-soaked cloth over her mouth. Video images showed Homolka performing oral sex on her unconscious sister and her husband raping her.
In what may be a vain effort to hide from her infamy, Homolka has changed her name to Karla Teale and has declined to say where she will be living.
But she learnt French while in prison and has said she will make Quebec her home, claiming that the province is more tolerant than Ontario. In the interview on French-language television in Montreal, she repeated that she had acted under her husband's influence and asked that she be allowed to rebuild her life.
Noting that her first desire was to taste the cappuccino, she said: "I don't want to be hunted down. I don't want people to think I am dangerous and I'm going to do something to their children.
"What I did was terrible and I was in a situation where I was unable to see clearly, where I was unable to ask for help, where I was completely overwhelmed in my life and I regret it enormously because now I know I had the power to stop all that."
The families of the two teenage victims are shocked. Tim Danson, a lawyer for the French and Mahaffay families, said they were overwhelmed by the news that she was free. "They thought they had made the necessary mental and emotional adjustments to get ready for today, but when I gave them word that she'd been released, there was just stunned, painful silence," he said.
Jack Jadwab, executive director of the Association of Canadian Studies in Montreal, said: "People think she's cheated the system. A violent crime like this, publicised the way it is, represents to many Canadians a bit of a stain on our reputation for being a non-violent society."
Homolka has appealed against restrictions set on her freedom but the families of her victims said they have engaged lawyers to fight such a move.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Power of Nepal earthquake was equivalent to 20 huge atomic bombs
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Support Engi...