WATCH: Toronto Sun writer Sam Pazzano discusses the fragile mindset of the woman reportedly set to marry Bernardo and how she was duped by the killer
The Toronto Sun said Thursday the 30-year-old woman is from London, Ont., and that Bernardo “has charmed and manipulated [the] attractive, university-educated woman into planning to marry him.”
According to the Sun, Bernardo’s fiancée has apparently told friends the notorious schoolgirl murderer and rapist is “innocent” and he was “a bystander to the rapes and torture slayings of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy.”
The Sun says it has spoken to the woman on three different occasions and has chosen not to reveal her identity.
Bernardo—now 50—was sentenced to at least 25 years in prison in 1995. He was declared a dangerous offender for a number of offences, including the first-degree murders of French and Mahaffy, and two aggravated sexual assaults.
The newspaper says the woman has an ankle tattoo that reads “Paul’s girl” and during the interview deflected “question after question about marrying Bernardo, but never indicated she didn’t want to wed him or that the wedding plans were off.”
“He is a kind man, a Christian, a very nice man,” the bride-to-be told the Sun.
According to the unnamed woman’s father, his daughter is “brilliant but psychologically and emotionally fragile and lacking in street smarts.”
The father said he and his wife confronted their daughter earlier this year after learning she had been corresponding with Bernardo in order to “research” a book. He believes reality has set in for his daughter and he is hoping she has “abandoned the ill-conceived plan.”
“It was very easy for him to get her locked into a train of thought. I’ve been very explicit that he actually did these things and reality sunk in this last week in a big way,” the father told the paper. “I am getting the feeling that from the way she was defending him in the beginning that now reality has finally kicked in and she realizes, ‘What have I got myself into?’”
The Sun says Bernardo turned down an interview request.
The lawyer who represents the families of French and Mahaffy said he finds the notion that a person like Bernardo could reach out to someone outside of prison and develop a relationship “appalling and incomprehensible.”
“One is that it’s appalling that there would be any woman would want to wed him after knowing the horrific, sadistic, violent, sexual crimes that Bernardo perpetrated against innocent girls and the Scarborough rape victims,” Tim Danson told the Sun. “How could anyone be in love with this man and want to marry him?
“Second, the very thought that Bernardo would be reaching out and want to marry someone, even though he’s going spend the rest of his life in jail, is further proof of how delusional and how dangerous he really is.”
WATCH: Mark McAllister reports on Paul Bernardo reported engagement.
Although Bernardo is eligible for full parole in 2018, it is unlikely to occur due to the convicted killer’s notoriety.
“If this is some kind of superficial trick to assist any parole possibilities, my view is he’ll be incredibly disappointed,” said Danson in the interview.
Bernardo was previously married to Karla Homolka, who struck a deal with the Crown in 1993 to serve 12 years in prison for manslaughter after she was convicted alongside Bernardo of crimes related to the rape and murder of French and Mahaffy and the drug-induced death of her 15-year-old sister Tammy Homolka.
Homolka had told investigators earlier that Bernardo abused her and made her a reluctant accomplice to the killings.
Videotapes later surfaced, however, showing Homolka had a far more active role in the murders than she had claimed. Since her release from prison in 2005, Homolka has been found living in the Caribbean under a different name with a husband and three young children.
– With files from The Canadian Press
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