WARNING: Graphic content

Serial killer Paul Bernardo, notorious for the gruesome rapes, torture and murders he committed with his teenage wife, is due for parole consideration.

Handsome and articulate Bernardo and gorgeous blonde Karla Homolka, together the murderous couple were so good looking they were called the "Ken and Barbie killers".

But the nicknames belied the terrifying deaths to which the schoolgirls raped and killed to satisfy Bernardo's sexual sadism were subjected.

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They became two of the worst serial killers in Canadian history, killing at least three girls.
One of the victims who died at their hands was Homolka's younger sister, Tammy, who she lured to feed her psychopathic husband's thirst for young victims.

Karla Homolka. Photo / Getty Images
Karla Homolka. Photo / Getty Images

By this time Bernardo and Homolka were a married couple, wed in a fairytale ceremony recorded on video by a Canadian lake near Niagara Falls.

Now aged 46, Homolka has been living free in the community under an assumed name after being released on a plea bargain.

But the traumatised families of two of the couple's victims now face the unconscionable prospect that Bernardo, a vicious serial teen rapist before he turned to killing, will be considered for day parole.

Despite serving a life sentence, 52-year-old Bernardo has applied for a day parole hearing, due this month, which if successful would see him freed on periodic community release.

Next year, Bernardo will be eligible to apply for full parole.

Lawyers for two of his victims, 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy and 15-year-old Kristen French, were "gutted' at the prospect of Bernardo, like Homolka, ever walking free again.

The Mahaffys and the Frenchs are working with Ontario lawyer Tim Danson on victim impact statements to rebuff any chance Bernardo might have with the Parole Board of Canada.

Mr Danson was "surprised" when he learned last year that Karla Homolka was living a suburban life with a husband and children in the Montreal suburb of Chateauguay.

But disquiet about Homolka turns to absolute fear when it comes to Bernardo, a handsome and charming man who tests high - 35 out of 40 - on the psychopathy checklist.

Bernardo's known victims number 19 females aged between 14 and 22 years old, but police suspect there were dozens more.

It all started in May of 1987, when a series of vicious rapes occurred in one of Toronto's rougher suburbs, the city of Scarborough, Ontario.

Known for liking "rough sex" before he embarked on his murder spree with Homolka, Bernardo liked using a knife during the multiple sexual assaults, escalating in savagery.

In the period of a week, three young women aged between 15 and 21 were grabbed, held down and raped for more than an hour by a blitz attacker.

The mystery attacker soon had a name, the Scarborough rapist, and lengthy sexual assaults were one of his hallmarks.

Between May 1987 and May 1990, he committed 16 attacks.

Still as yet undetected, Bernardo broke into the bedroom of a 15-year-old schoolgirl with a knife and bit her face and ear. Another victim he stabbed so badly in her thighs and buttocks she required 12 stitches.

But with the rapes, Bernardo was just warming up as a violent psychopath.
And when police did interview him after victims helped police draw up an identikit picture that closely resembled him, the handsome young salesman fooled investigators.

Interviewing him about the assaults, detectives concluded that such a well educated, well adjusted, congenial young man could not be responsible for the vicious crimes.
Bernardo was released, and it was not long before he would kill.

Karalla Homolka already knew Bernardo. She was 17 years old when they met, around the time he was embarking on his spree as the Scarborough rapist.

Homolka was working in a veterinary clinic. Bernardo, who had an abusive father, inveigled his way into the home life of the Homolka family, who reportedly "loved him as a son".

Bernardo was selling nutritional and body care products for the direct-selling giant Amway, as well as smuggling cigarettes across the US border.

Unbeknown to Homolka's family, Karla was submitting to the violent sexual fantasies of her boyfriend Paul Bernardo, who in turn was hatching an obsession with her little sister Tammy.

Homolka agreed to assist Bernardo in drugging 14-year-old Tammy so he could "deflower" her.

Using the animal tranquilliser halothane that Karla had stolen from the vet clinic, on July 24, 1990 they spiked a spaghetti dinner and fed it to Tammy.

Bernardo proceeded to violently rape the drugged girl, and the couple videotaped the assault.

Later played to the jury during Bernardo's murder trial, the video shows Karla egging on Bernardo and helping in her sister's brutal rape.

Kristen French, 15, was abducted at knifepoint outside her school. Photo / Supplied
Kristen French, 15, was abducted at knifepoint outside her school. Photo / Supplied

After several minutes however, the drugged Tammy began to wake up and then choked on her own vomit.

A panicked Karla and Beranrdo tried to revive her. Before calling 911, they hid the evidence, redressed Tammy and moved her into a basement bedroom.

A few hours later, she was pronounced dead without having regained consciousness.

Despite the fact Tammy had a chemical burn on her face, police accepted the couple's version of events and ruled the death an accident.

Bernardo was as yet unidentified at the Scarborough rapist.

Tammy Homolka was the Ken and Barbie killer's first victim. The couple moved out of the Homolkas' home to let the family grieve and into their own place at Port Dalhousie, north of Niagara Falls.

According to testimony at Bernardo's trial, he later videotaped Karla wearing Tammy's clothing and pretending to be her.

The following year, Homolka invited over a 15-year-old girl she had befriended while working at a pet shop. After shopping and eating out, Homolka fed the girl alcohol laced with the insomniac drug, Halcion.

The girl was Homolka's wedding present to her future husband, who with Homolka's assistance raped the girl during the night.

The next morning, the girl woke, not realising she had been drugged or violated.
On June 15, 1991, Bernardo was driving to Toronto stealing licence plates, when he came across a 14-year-old girl.

Leslie Mahaffey had been locked out of her house for punishment after returning home late.

Bernardo lured her to his car, blindfolded her and forced her into the vehicle.

Back at their Port Dalhousie home, he and Homolka played rock music and filmed themselves raping and torturing Mahaffey.

During the ordeal, Bernardo told the little girl, "You're doing a good job, Leslie. The next two hours are going to determine what I do to you. Right now, you're scoring perfect."

The video shows Mahaffey crying out in pain as Bernardo sodomises her while her hands are bound.

Bernardo later claimed it was Homolka who, on the second day, administered Mahaffey with a lethal dose of Halcion. Karla claimed Bernardo strangled her.

A month later, on June 29, canoers on a lake in southern Ontario came across blocks of concrete on a bank.

One of the cement blocks had split open, revealing dismembered body parts. They belonged to Leslie Mahaffey.

On several occasions during their marriage, Karla Homolka had turned up at hospital with black eyes and a beaten face.

She would later blame Bernardo for brutally forcing her into complying with his evil deeds.

But after the discovery of Leslie Mahaffey's remains, police interviewed the suspected wife beater at whose hands his young sister-in-law had choked on her own vomit.

Nine months later, in April 1992, Homolka and Bernardo were driving through the nearest city to their home, St Catherines.

It was Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, and 15-year-old Kristen French was walking home from Holy Cross Secondary School.

Homolka got out of the car with a map, pretending to need assistance.

Bernardo attacked French from behind with a knife, forcing her into the car where Homolka subdued he girl by pulling her hair.

Meanwhile, French's parents had alerted police that their usually punctual daughter had failed to come home.

Witnesses had seen the abduction and police found one of French's shoes in a car park.

Homolka and Bernardo. Photo / Supplied
Homolka and Bernardo. Photo / Supplied

Over the three days of Easter weekend, Homolka and Bernardo videotaped themselves raping, torturing and sodomising French.

They forced alcohol down her throat and, on Easter Sunday before driving to Homolka's parents house for a family dinner, they murdered the girl.

Again, following their later arrest, one blamed the other.

Homolka said Bernardo strangled Kristen for seven minutes - Bernardo claimed Karla beat her with a rubber mallet and that French died from strangulation by a rope tied to a chest.

Immediately after the murder, Homolka is said to have gone to fix her hair for dinner.

The teenager's naked body was found 11 days later in a ditch, a 45-minute drive from where she had been abducted.

Apart from the severe beating marks and bruises on her body, Kristen French had cigar burns all over her body, matching those found on Leslie Mahaffey.

Police now knew they were dealing with a serial killer, and launched the Green Ribbon Task Force. DNA samples on Kristen French's body matched those of the mysterious Scarborough rapist.

FBI experts arrived to help the task force and they began looking at every suspect interviewed in the Scarborough assaults.

When Homolka again ended up in hospital after a beating from Bernardo, she filed battery charges against him.

What she didn't know was that DNA taken from her in hospital matched the samples on Kristen French's body.

Police placed Homolka and Bernardo under 24-hour surveillance, and on February 17, 1993 they raided Bernardo's house and charged him with 12 counts of aggravated sexual assault and two counts of first degree murder.

Homolka was arrested and charged with two counts of first degree murder.

More charges against both were to follow.

Homolka made a plea bargain with the Crown Attorney's office to testify against Bernardo in exchange for a reduction of the charges against her.

Posing as the battered wife who acted out of fear, she secured a minimum 12 years' prison for the Mahaffey and French murders.

No extra prison time was added for her participation in her sister Tammy's assault or the drug-rape of her former teenage pet shop friend.

Bernardo would later call it a "deal with the devil".

The jury at his trial endured hours of gruesome video documenting the couple's torture, rape and murder of their three teen victims.

The videos exposed Homolka as a clearly willing participant in the crimes but her bargain was sealed.

An outraged Canadian public read of her champagne with friends while in prison, and of her release in 2005.

She lived in Costa Rica with her new husband, Thierry Bordelais, the brother of her lawyer, and their children, before moving back to Canada.

It has been said that Bernardo will never be released, but the Mahaffey and French families fear he may have a chance at freedom.

These days, Karla Homolka goes under the name of Leanne Bordelais.

Immediately after her release from prison, Homolka gave an interview to Radio Canada.

Saying that she "had done terrible things" but now she was free she didn't want to be hounded by the media, Homolka blamed it on her youth and Bernardo's influence.

"Back then I was 17 years old. I didn't know much. I was afraid of being abandoned. I absolutely wanted to have a relationship," she said.

"I did not have self-confidence. There are a lot of things about myself that I didn't know then that I know now."

Karla Homolka was a 21-year-old when she murdered Leslie Mahaffey and Kristen French.

Neighbours in her Montreal suburb won't let her forget, posting signs down the road from the comfortable home of "Leanne Bordelais".

The signs list the names of the three girls who became the couple's prey. "Never forget the victims," they say.