Karla Homolka in Montreal
(Photo: CTV News)
(Photo: CTV News)
I read this article a while back, but tossed it into a rarely-used bookmarks folder and didn't see it again until just now:
Reported by Mylène Colmar in Guadeloupe and Benjamin Shingler in Montreal
Residents of Guadeloupe expressed confusion, shock and anxiety as word spread Friday that notorious Canadian killer Karla Homolka has been quietly living as their neighbour.
Hours after details of Homolka’s post-prison life surfaced in a new book by journalist Paula Todd, locals were busy reading up about the past life of the ex-convict, now 42 years old and a mother of three.
As the news spread online and through friends, the reaction in Guadeloupe, a set of islands in the Caribbean with a population 400,000, was a mixture of surprise and worry.
Several people interviewed by OpenFile in one of the country’s larger towns, Abymes, said they had never heard the name before Friday, though they were concerned after learning about her past.
“I found out Karla Homolka was in Guadeloupe from a friend of mine who’s a Canadian journalist,” said Axelle Kaulanjan-Diamant, a local journalist and philosophy professor.
“She sent me a link to an article and said, ‘I think you should know about this.’”
Kaulanjan-Diamant said she still doesn’t know much about Homolka’s case but that “it seems problematic that, given her criminal past, she can be around children.”
Residents in Guadeloupe wondered whether local police were aware of Homolka’s presence and had been monitoring her activity.
"I am very surprised that she’s in Guadeloupe and I wonder why she decided to come here,” said Fabrice, 30, who asked that his last name not be used. “This is worrisome.”
Some appeared ready to let Homolka move on, suggesting that even the woman who was involved in the torture and murder of three teenagers – including her own sister – deserves a second chance.
"This woman has already served her sentence,” said Clémence, 66, a retired member of the civil service.
“She has rebuilt her life, she has young children. I think of them – they did nothing wrong – and I wonder if we should just leave her alone. If she’s not bothering anyone anymore, not doing anything wrong, I don’t see why we need to go into all of this again.”
The book, “Finding Karla,” confirms earlier reports that Homolka married her lawyer’s brother, had a child and moved to the French Caribbean to avoid the public eye. It does not reveal exactly where in Guadeloupe Homolka is now living.
Following up on a number of online rumours, Todd tracked her down in a small apartment, living a quiet life in a small village under the name Leanne Bordelais with her spouse, Thierry Bordelais, and her children.
Nearly twenty years ago, Homolka and then-husband Paul Bernardo made headlines around the world for the sex killings of Ontario schoolgirls Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, and the drug induced death of Homolka’s sister Tammy.
In what was termed a “deal with the devil,” Homolka struck a bargain with prosecutors to help them convict Bernardo, who was also found guilty of rapes he committed in Scarborough.
Homolka was given a 12-year sentence, while Bernardo was sentenced to life in prison.
After her release in 2005, Homolka moved to Quebec, where she attempted to live a quiet life away from the spotlight. She granted a single interview to Radio-Canada in the hopes of putting the issue to rest.
“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,” she said at the time. “I want to keep things to myself but it is not possible.”
In Guadeloupe, Todd spoke to Homolka for an hour inside her apartment. What she found was a woman trying to leave her past behind, whom she describes as a “housewife trapped with her kids in a cage that she built herself.”
“If this were anyone else, I’d say she was lonely and slightly bored,” Todd writes.