On the sole occasion when he spoke out about what his life was like behind bars, Paul Bernardo revealed six years ago that he regularly got mail from smitten women.
“I get letters. I get lots of letters,” the convicted serial sex killer said in a 2006 interview with two police investigators that was made public two years later.
Now comes a Toronto Sun news report that an unnamed 30-year-old woman from London, Ont., has been corresponding with him since last fall and is planning to wed him.
“He is a kind man, a Christian, a very nice man,” she told the Sun.
The woman’s parents said they have tried to talk her out of her infatuation for one of Canada’s most notorious criminals.
“She said Bernardo called her ‘the most beautiful woman in the world,’ ” the woman’s father told the Sun.
The parents said their university-educated daughter “had a number of bad relationships that undermined her self-esteem despite her brilliance. She is looking for someone who will love her unconditionally.”
According to her parents, the woman is convinced of his innocence and asked her pastor about forgiveness.
The family tried to talk her out of her wedding plans and was told she hadn’t opened the last three letters she had received from the penitentiary. Then, two weeks ago, the Sun contacted the father, asking about his daughter corresponding with an inmate with whom she had romantic designs.
“It’s Paul Bernardo, Oh my God, Oh my God,” the father immediately exclaimed.
The object of the woman’s attention is serving a life sentence for the murders of teenaged girls Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, and also of almost 20 sexual assaults. He was also declared a dangerous offender.
The woman sports a recent ankle tattoo that says “Paul’s girl” but insists it refers to someone else.
“I was aware she was dating someone named Paul, but I didn’t know that it was Paul Bernardo. It’s pretty crazy,” a friend told the Sun.
“She said he told her not to tell her parents they were getting married until after it was over,” the friend added.
Correctional Services Canada says that privacy rules prevent them from revealing whether an inmate can have family visits.
In the 2006 interview, which took place at Kingston Penitentiary – where he was in a maximum-security, solitary-confinement unit and prohibited from having contact with the news media – the infamous convict said he wasn’t interested in the many sexual offers he was getting in the mail.
“I don’t have a girlfriend. I don’t have relations; don’t want one,” he said.
He added: “Am I going to bring somebody here, you know, to this horrible situation? Bring her in as Paul Bernardo’s girlfriend and subject her to that just so I can have my sex or relationship? I’m not gonna … do it – not until I’m out of prison.”
He is eligible to seek day parole next February and full parole by February, 2018. However, legal observers say it is unlikely he will ever be granted parole.
According to the woman’s father, “She says, ‘Well, he doesn’t get out for three more years.’ I bluntly told her, ‘Dear, he’s never going to get out.’ ”