BATH, Ont. — Convicted rapist and killer Paul Bernardo has been denied parole.
A National Parole Board panel at the Millhaven Institution in eastern Ontario made the decision today.
Bernardo has spent more than 25 years of his life sentence behind bars for kidnapping, torturing and killing two teen girls in the early 1990s.
The 54-year-old told the hearing he did dreadful things in the past, and argued he has improved himself.
“I hurt a lot of people,” Bernardo told parole board member Suzanne Poirier. “I cry all the time.”
The panel decided to deny parole for the designated dangerous offender, who has been eligible since February.
Bernardo’s crimes over several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, some of which he videotaped, sparked widespread terror and revulsion.
Among them, Bernardo 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 dismembering her body, encasing her remains in cement and dumping them in a nearby lake.
Mahaffy’s mother, Debbie Mahaffy, described the unbearable, crushing pain the parole hearing has rekindled, saying the “unspeakable and brutally sadistic acts” Bernardo committed were too painful to describe.
“This is an emotional hell for us,” Mahaffy said at the parole hearing, choking back tears.
Bernardo, dressed in a blue T-shirt, slouched in his chair and listened with little obvious emotion.
Dubbed the “Scarborough rapist,” Bernardo also tortured and killed Kristen French, 15, of St. Catharines, Ont., in April 1992 after keeping her captive for three days.
Kristen’s mother, Donna French, argued that Bernardo should never see freedom again.
“How does one describe such immeasurable pain so as to give even the slightest understanding of the overwhelming sadness, the emptiness, and pain we feel even after 26 years of dealing with our loss?” French said.
French also noted that the law was changed after Bernardo’s incarceration to allow for consecutive periods of parole ineligibility.
One of Bernardo’s surviving victims also spoke at the hearing, describing how she was walking home on an evening in May 1988 when he attacked her from behind, dragged her into some bushes and raped her. The result has been emotional devastation from which she has never recovered, she said.
“After the assault, I really became a shell of a person,” she said. “He should never be considered for any freedom for the rest of his life.”
Colin Perkel , The Canadian Press