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Jailed Homolka falls for controlling killer

The London Free Press, by ALAN CAIRNS AND STEPHANIE RUBEC, Special to The Free Press, June 6, 2005

JOLIETTE, QUE. -- Karla Homolka's prison lover and avowed future husband is an abusive and controlling killer.

He is Jean-Paul Gerbet, 38, a French national serving a life sentence for murdering his girlfriend, Cathy Carretta, when she tried to leave him seven years ago.

Gerbet was named on Quebec TV yesterday by Cathy Carretta's father, Christian, who said he fears Homolka has found herself a replacement for ex-husband Paul Bernardo.

"He (Gerbet) is an individual who can be evil and I don't know what will come of him being chaperoned by Karla," he said.

"They are a diabolical couple and a horrifying couple," Carretta told the TVA network. "It resembles Bernardo."

Tim Danson, the Toronto lawyer representing the Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French families, said last night he has known about Gerbet for some time.

"It was one of many important factors which drove us to the conclusion we had to bring this application," Danson said, referring to an Ontario government application to restrict her freedom on her release from Joliette prison next month. Homolka is expected in court today to oppose the bid.

Danson said even experts who are the most "sympathetic" to Homolka and support her assertions of being a battered wife qualify their reports with, "If she doesn't associate with another Paul Bernardo."

"Her best case is premised on that fact," Danson said.

"She is attracted like a magnet to people like this is the point we're making," Danson said.

Carretta said Gerbet was a longtime family friend who had a history of violent love affairs before sweeping his daughter off her feet while at a European wedding.

Carretta said the relationship soon soured after Gerbet followed his daughter to Montreal.

"He is a kind of narcissist," Carretta said. "I asked Jean-Paul myself to leave Cathy alone, but I didn't foresee his reaction."

Gerbet broke into the Carretta family home in February 1998, strangled Cathy and stuffed her body into the trunk of his car. He then drove to the Carretta family cottage near Joliette where he attempted suicide.

The cottage where Carretta's body was found is a few kilometres from where Homolka appears in court today.

Homolka's prison affair with Gerbet began in Ste-Anne-des-Plaines maximum security prison while she was still involved in a lesbian relationship with longtime criminal Lynda Veronneau.

Homolka had referred to Veronneau as the "love of my life" and had planned to live with her after her release.

But when Homolka set eyes on Gerbet, she fell in love with him.

Homolka's link with Gerbet will be raised at today's hearing.

Ontario prosecutors are poised to tell the court experts have concluded Homolka may not be a threat to offend again -- unless she meets another Bernardo.

Homolka's controversial 12-year manslaughter sentence for her part in Bernardo's sex slayings of French, 15, and Mahaffy, 14, and the drug rape death of Homolka's sister, Tammy, 15, ends July 5.

Homolka will be released a day earlier -- July 4.

Ontario officials will today ask that Homolka report to police twice a month, disclose where she is living and working and notify police of any travel plans.

Prosecutors also will seek to have Homolka avoid other criminals and might specifically refer to Gerbet.

Homolka's affair with a male inmate was revealed in January 2003, when Sun Media reported Homolka, 35, met the man in the Ste-Anne-des-Plaines maximum security prison library, where he was an inmate helper.

That followed Sun Media's revelation Homolka had previously had a two-year affair with Veronneau.

Homolka quickly dumped Veronneau for her new boyfriend.

Chantal Meuneer, who lived in a tiny cell range at Ste-Anne-des-Plaines with Homolka for 10 months, said Homolka and her killer beau began exchanging love letters hidden in library books.

"She would talk about the love she had for him. She likes him. She wanted to marry him," Meuneer said.

When Correctional Services Canada (CSC) refused Homolka's request to start seeing her boyfriend before a marriage, Homolka "was crying," Meuneer said.

"She has photographs of him on the wall of her cell . . . He is a killer. She is still a sick woman. She likes sick men," said Meuneer, who's living with Lynda Veronneau.

Meuneer said she watched the pair fondling each other through a chain-link fence that is the only buffer between male and female cons in the Ste-Anne-des-Plaines prison yard.

"Karla was on the guy. She changed the panties and the bra, and him, he changed the boxer shorts . . . they were sexually touching," Meuneer said.

Meuneer said Homolka's red-hot love affair was put on ice about a year ago after CSC officials found out.

CSC transferred the man to another prison, Meuneer said.

CSC officials admit there were "sexual" letters, but deny there was physical contact.

"It was impossible for her to have had a physical relationship . . . they were exchanging letters," said CSC spokesperson Michelle Pilon-Santilli.

Meuneer angrily accused CSC of a coverup.

She added Homolka told her CSC refused a bid for a prison wedding and forbids letters between the two.

While Meuneer's claim can't be corroborated, a National Parole Board (NPB) panel referred to a secret sexual relationship in a January 2003 review of its decision to detain Homolka for her full 12-year manslaughter sentence.

Copyright The London Free Press