One of the sickest men to ever despoil a Canadian courtroom, a serial killer and rapist named Paul Bernardo, was secretly transferred from the notorious maximum-security Millhaven Institute near Kingston, Ont., to the medium-security La Macaza prison in the Quebec Laurentians last week.

None of the families of his victims was notified. It was all done, basically, under the cloak of darkness.

A source, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, told Global News that La Macaza is a prison for sexual offenders and those at risk of being harmed by other inmates, and who also said they believed the move of Bernardo was done “secretly.”

Bernardo’s sex crimes transpired over several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, some of which he videotaped and which formed part of the evidence against him in court, and sparked widespread terror and revulsion.

Among his acts, he and his then-wife Karla Homolka kidnapped, tortured and killed Leslie Mahaffy, 14, of Burlington, Ont., in June 1991 at their home in Port Dalhousie, Ont., before dumping her cement-encased remains in a nearby lake.

They similarly kidnapped and, after ignoring her agonized pleas over three days, killed Kristen French, 15, in April 1992.

Bernardo ultimately admitted to raping 14 other women. He was also convicted of manslaughter in the December 1990 death of Homolka’s younger sister, Tammy. The 15-year-old girl died after the pair drugged and sexually assaulted her.

The victims families’ lawyer Tim Danson says he stressed to Correctional Service Canada that if Bernardo ever were to escape, there would be a serious risk to public safety, but he was assured that “medium security is still significant security.”

Homolka was convicted of manslaughter in what became known as the Deal of the Century,  and served a 12-year prison sentence before release in 2005. She went on to remarry and become a mother, infuriating the masses.

Bernardo’s move to La Macaza, said Danson, “just tears them apart. There’s just a high level of pain and sadness and despair and anguish.”

“A situation like this, just as it is when we’re preparing for parole hearings … it kind of transports the families back to the beginning and it kind of ignites all the horrible feelings, you know, that they’ve been trying to address and deal with and get on with life,” he said.

A spokesperson for Correctional Service Canada would not comment “on the specifics of an offender’s case,” but stressed that “this offender” is serving an indeterminate sentence, meaning there is no end date to the sentence.

In other words, Bernardo is most likely going to die in prison.

It could not come sooner to the journalists who covered the trial, some of whom had to be treated for PTSD and other emotionally related ailments because the details of the case were too cruel to be comprehended, but were nonetheless resurrected each time Bernardo annually sought parole.

His next parole hearing is set for November 23.

Bernardo was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, raping, torturing and murdering the two teenage girls near St. Catharines, Ont.  

The Correctional Service of Canada couldn’t say why the convicted killer was moved, but it said “public safety” is the “paramount consideration” in every decision.

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of an offender’s case, we assure the public that this offender continues to be incarcerated in a secure institution, with appropriate security perimeters and controls in place,” a spokesperson said on Friday.

“It is important to note that this offender is serving an indeterminate sentence, which means that there is no end date to their sentence.”


  • Mark Bonokoski

    Mark Bonokoski is a member of the Canadian News Hall of Fame and has been published by a number of outlets – including the Toronto Sun, Maclean’s and Readers’ Digest.