Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

The following is a CBC translation of an interview Karla Homolka gave Monday to Radio-Canada reporter Joyce Napier:

Napier: So, Karla Homolka and Sylvie Bordelais [Homolka's lawyer]it's been about two hours since you've been out of jail. This is the first phase of this beginning. Ms. Bordelais, why have you chosen to come here?

Bordelais: Because it was important to sensitize people to the fact that my client has two choices. Either she lives like a trapped animal, and we don't know what could happen, or she takes the time to come here and meet people and give them her point of view and perhaps to explain a little who she is and what she wants to do.

Story continues below advertisement

So, we chose this second option and to come to what we consider a serious media outlet and that's why we're here this afternoon, so she can take the time to speak to you and to present herself to the people as well.

We've heard a lot about her from all kinds of people who said they knew her and have all kinds of different reasons to talk about her, whereas now she's here and she can talk for herself and explain what her goals are and what's it's been like for her.

Napier: You told me there are people you want to thank because they helped you.

Bordelais: That's true and my client will tell you more about that, but speaking for me personally, I have received many e-mails, letters and phone calls from people who wanted to offer her a place to live: they've offered apartments, people offered jobs and money to my client and I have not had a chance to thank them personally.

There are people from across Canada and even farther away, and I have to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them. Because, there have been times when there were just the two of us, before other lawyers became involved, we were alone and often we'd receive a letter or a phone call and people would say, 'What you are hearing in the media does not reflect what everyone thinks.'

But I also need to mention that there are people who are ready to open their homes and to offer support to allow for a successful social rehabilitation.

Napier: Karla Homolka, you've been in jail for 12 years for crimes that have received a lot of media attention across the whole country. And with the whole media frenzy that has occurred over the last few days, what was it like to leave jail?

Story continues below advertisement

Homolka: I think I don't fully realize that I am out yet. I'm nervous, anxious. It's hard to describe.

Napier: But how did you get out? Was it a car? Did you have to hide? How did you get out? Were you followed? How did it happen?

Homolka: We were hidden. Ms. Bordelais had a plan and we followed it and we were not followed and we came here without any problems.

Napier: And you stayed hidden in the car until you arrived here?

Homolka: Yes, yes.

Napier: Where were you hidden?

Story continues below advertisement

Homolka: In the back of, I don't know what you call it, in the back of the car.

Napier: So, you know the media were really waiting for you outside the prison. They were even camped outside the detention centre at Ste-Anne-des-Plaines. Do you understand why people are so interested in you?

Homolka: Yes, and no. Yes, because I've done terrible things, that's for sure. And I am a woman and it's very rare for a woman to do the kinds of things I have done. And no because there are a lot of people who get out of jail every day who have also done terrible things. But I think I understand more than I don't understand.

Napier: It's been 12 years. We heard you under cross-examination, we heard you through affidavits and through the voice of your lawyers, but never from you directly. How come you decided today, two hours after being freed, to finally speak to us in the media and through us, to the public?

Homolka: It was a very difficult decision to take because I am a very private person and I don't like to talk about my feelings. I want to keep things to myself but it is not possible. So I decided, with my lawyer, that this was the best thing to do because I don't want to be hounded and I don't want people to think that I am a dangerous person who's going to do something to their children. I think it's time I talk.

Napier: When you decided to speak, you chose to speak in French. Why in French?

Story continues below advertisement

Homolka: Usually I don't watch the news or read the newspapers, but each time I watched the news in French and especially Radio-Canada they were not as sensational. They don't shout, it's serious and I want to re-start my life in French.

Napier: You've chosen Quebec because you think we judge you with more clemency here?

Homolka: It's certain that the mood in Quebec is not like the mood in Ontario. But I have a support network here that is very important.

Napier: Is it also because in English Canada, the Karla Homolka-Paul Bernardo affair was covered on a daily basis and all of the details were made public? It was very spectacular at the time, especially in the English media. In Quebec we were not as familiar with the details, horrible details, of your case before the courts. Isn't that partly why you chose to live here in Quebec where you are not as well known as you are in Ontario?

Homolka: Not really because everybody is starting to talk about the details. And if anyone wants to know the details, it's very easy to find them out. Yes, it's true that I am less well known here and that is an advantage for me. I think I can re-make my life.

Napier: It's easier to live here. Do you think it's possible for Karla Homolka to re-make her life even in Quebec, to start over or continue a life anonymously, peacefully, quietly after all this media coverage and what you've done?

Story continues below advertisement

Homolka: I hope.

Napier: You think it is still possible?

Homolka: Well, everything is possible in life.

Napier: And that is what you are wishing for?

Homolka: Yes, yes.

Napier: And you honestly believe that starting, maybe not tomorrow, but after a certain amount of time, that things will calm down? And that other events will take over and people will forget you? In your head, is that the ideal scenario?

Story continues below advertisement

Homolka: Yes, for sure that's the ideal scenario but I don't think everybody will forget me. I can hope.

Napier: And now you're out. It's been a few hours. Karla Homolka is free now. Do you think you've paid your debt to society?

Homolka: That's a difficult question. Legally yes. Emotionally and socially no. No.

Napier: What do you have to do to pay your debt emotionally and socially towards a society that is still obviously judging you?

Homolka: I think socially I have to do as much as possible to help people. But emotionally I am constantly living with what I have done and that will never end.

Napier: When you say helping people, how would you hope to help people?

Homolka: I don't know for sure, but I know that in jail I did things. I was a member of a team of peer counsellors. It was a group of women who are trained to help other inmates. I did many things like that in jail and I want to continue outside. I can't do the same things and I don't know exactly how I am going to do it.

Napier: If you're coming to see us today, it's because you want to tell people that you are no longer a threat to society and that is one of the things people are afraid about and you know it. So, the question is, who are you? If you are not the person you were, are you that person, an exemplary inmate or a criminal?

Homolka: I was an exemplary detainee. There is no doubt about that. I did all my programs. I even did those that weren't part of my rehabilitation program. I did volunteer work. I went to school. I helped other women. I never received an internal report. I did all kinds of things. I went to school. I got my BA. I improved my French.

Napier: You said a few minutes ago that you will always have to live with what you did. Do you feel any remorse?

Homolka: Yes.

Napier: How does it manifest itself, that remorse?

Homolka: I cry often. I can't forgive myself. I think about what I did and often I think I don't deserve to be happy because of what I did.

Napier: How do you judge now what you did? When you think about it, how do you judge yourself?

Homolka: What I did was terrible and I was in a situation where I was unable to see clearly, where I was unable to ask for help. Where I was completely overwhelmed in my life and I regret it enormously because now I know I had the power to stop all of that. But when I was living through it, I thought I had no power.

Napier: To stop even what you did? You didn't have the power to stop yourself?

Homolka: Well I didn't initiate the crimes. I followed. Yes, I did what I did but ....

Napier: You figure you're not a danger today?

Homolka: Not at all. Not at all.

Napier: You're not likely to "follow" again, as you say?

Homolka: No.

Napier: And what makes you say that today you would not follow, like you did in the past?

Homolka: Well, first of all I am an adult. 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. I did not have self-confidence. There are a lot of things about myself that I didn't know then that I know now.

Napier: You had a relationship in prison with someone who killed his wife. Have you continued this relationship with Jean-Paul Gerbet?

Homolka: I am not prepared to talk about people I knew in prison.

Napier: Why? Is there a particular reason you don't want to talk about it?

Homolka: Yes, because I have lived through the whole media circus and I don't want the friends I had in jail to be subjected to that. I am not here to talk, but ...

Napier: Are you still communicating with him in any way?

Homolka: I have already answered that question.

Napier: Do you consider that today you are rehabilitated?

Homolka: Yes.

Napier: Today, you are coming out of prison, you say you don't read the newspapers. But in the newspapers, there is this analysis of the agreement you had with the Crown. I'm sure that even if you haven't read newspapers you've heard of this, about this agreement with the Crown that your ex-husband's lawyer has called the "Deal with the Devil" that was even the title of a book that was written afterwards.

You had reduced charges in the murders of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy. Twelve years reduced sentence. And finally your role was as big as Paul Bernardo's. We talked about you as the woman who had the battered wife syndrome, and that you were under his influence. When you think about it today, do you still see yourself as having been a victim back then?

Homolka: First of all, everybody who says I had a role equal to him do not know the case. That's the first thing. And secondly, yes, I was under his influence.

Napier: Before moving onto your new life, because there is a future, you received threats. Do I understand correctly that you've received death threats? What kind of death threats, and did you receive them directly, and if so in what way?

Homolka: Well, because I spent the last month and a half by myself in a men's prison, I have not received any threats. My mail was intercepted, read, all that. The threats I received in Joliette were by telephone, and they were directed to the guards because people cannot call us directly in prison. I was told the two people who called said I was going to die.

In the past, often the threats I received were from inmates, who told me that they would kill me.

Napier: This was in Joliette?

Homolka: No, it was in Kingston and in Saskatchewan when I was there. I spent four years in Kingston in isolation because of the threats. Also, when I was transferred to Saskatchewan, I was in isolation for the same reasons. My parents also received death threats about me.

Napier: Your parents have moved, they still live in same place?

Homolka: No, they haven't moved.

Napier: Do you have a relationship with your family?

Homolka: Yes.

Napier: Good relationships?

Homolka: Yes.

Napier: With your father, your mother, and you have one sister?

Homolka: Yes.

Napier: Will you see them soon? They are here, your family is here?

Homolka: Yes. My mother is here.

Napier: Have you maintained a good relationship with your mother in these 12 years? Your mother came to visit you?

Homolka: My whole family has visited me.

Napier: Your relationships with family are difficult?

Homolka: In what way?

Napier: In the sense of what happened with your sister. You had a little sister.

Homolka: Yes.

Napier: You took part with Paul Bernardo in the death of your little sister and in the rape of your little sister. Hence my question as to whether your relationship with your family is difficult.

Homolka: No, my family loves me, and my family has also lived with my ex-husband and my mother had no idea what happened in my relationship with him. My parents' friends had no idea. Everybody thought he was No. 1. My family has never rejected me for what I did. My mother only said that she hates what I did, but she loves me and we have a very beautiful relationship. I am very lucky.

Napier: And with your father too?

Homolka: Yes, the same thing.

Napier: Well, where will you settle down?

Homolka: I'm not answering this question.

Napier: Is it in Quebec?

Homolka: It's in the province of Quebec.

Napier: And why don't you want to answer this question? Are you afraid?

Homolka: Would you give your address on television?

Napier: I'm not asking you for your address. I'm asking you where you're going to settle down.

Homolka: No, no, I don't want to.

Napier: Are you going to work?

Homolka: Yes, I'd like to.

Napier: What kind of work would you like to do?

Homolka: I'm ready to do anything, except the only things important to me are first, that it be legal. Second, that it is moral. And third, that it doesn't go against my conditions.

Napier: And what kind of support or help are you going to have? Because it's been 12 years that you've been inside prison. Are you going to need help or support? And if so, where will you find it?

Homolka: I already have people in my life who are giving me all kinds of help. I also see a psychologist.

Napier: Are you afraid of this new life that awaits you?

Homolka: Yes, yes.

Napier: And what will be the first thing that you'd like to do?

Homolka: This is stupid. I'd like to have an iced cappuccino. An iced cappuccino from Tim Hortons, that's what I'd like to do.

Napier: So, you are today, Karla Homolka, a free woman, a truly free woman?

Homolka: No, no. I think I will never be truly free. Because there are different kinds of prisons. There are concrete prisons, and there are internal prisons. And I think I will always be in an internal prison.

Napier: Why?

Homolka: Because of what I did. I would like to go back in time and re-do things, but I can't.

Napier: So it's something you'll never forget?

Homolka: Never, never. I think about it all the time. At every anniversary, every Christmas, all the time.

Napier: And with the years it hasn't faded?

Homolka: I thought that it would happen, but I realize that it's not true. It just gets harder.

Napier: Thank you.

Homolka: You're welcome.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies