Toronto Sun

November 5, 1999

Karla 'is a threat': Prison pal

Ex-inmate admits she fell for schoolgirl killer's act

By PHILIP LEE-SHANOK -- Toronto Sun

MATES ... Chandai D'Abreau, a former prison pal of Karla Homolka (below), says she became close friends with the convicted killer while inside but now realizes she was "sucked in" by Homolka.

For a time, Chandai D'Abreau considered schoolgirl killer Karla Homolka her friend.

While an inmate at Kingston's Prison For Women, D'Abreau, 34, said she was charmed by Homolka, who also taught her how to make the best impression before a parole board.

"She coached me on how to look, what to do, what to wear. She told me to fold my hands and put them on the desk in front of me during the interview," D'Abreau said last night from her Scarborough home.

D'Abreau was granted parole four years ago and has started her life over. She married and has three kids.

In 1993, D'Abreau was sentenced to 20 months at Vanier Centre for Women for a work-related fraud.

She and another inmate broke out of the Brampton jail by scaling the 10-metre fence topped with razor wire.

After she turned herself in, four months were added to her sentence for escaping lawful custody which landed her in Kingston's P4W in April 1994.

That's where she met Karla.

"She really was a sweet person. She was always nice to me," D'Abreau said. "She's like a child. She had all kinds of Disney posters on her wall. You really wanted to trust her. She's very likeable."

For about four months of her 18 in P4W, D'Abreau spent time in the segregated unit doing chores such as preparing and delivering food. She got to know Homolka and Kim Wildeman, who was serving a four-year term for killing her 2-year-old son in June 1993.

"When I left, Karla hugged me and gave me a friendship bracelet. She did the normal things a girlfriend would do," D'Abreau says now, adding she's not surprised that there are people who support her suit in Federal Court to allow her temporary escorted leaves.

"She conned everyone in the justice system and I'm just another one. I felt stupid because I realized she had me sucked in," D'Abreau said. "It took me a couple years to get over being close to her. I was in denial. She completely convinced me that she was innocent."

Tim Danson, lawyer for the French and Mahaffy families, said he's not surprised D'Abreau found Homolka to be charming and friendly.

'MARK OF PSYCHOPATH'

"In my experience with psychopaths, they can be very charming, very endearing, intelligent and persuasive," Danson said. "That's the mark of a psychopath."

After serving only six years for her part in the rapes and slayings of Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French and her role in the death of her own sister, Tammy, he said Homolka is not close to being rehabilitated.

"Karla has pulled the wool over everyone's eyes and manipulated the system. She is a threat to public safety," he said.

Various assessment reports filed by Corrections Canada include documents dating to the spring of 1993.

Homolka was admitted to Northwestern General hospital in Toronto at that time, according to her testimony at Bernardo's trial.

Filed documents written by psychiatrists Hans Arndt and Andrew Malcolm and psychologist Allan Long are all dated within the seven weeks Homolka said she was hospitalized.

Reached at his Toronto office yesterday, Malcolm wouldn't comment on his report or Homolka's recent application for escorted day passes. "I haven't followed the case since then (1993)," he said.

Contents of those reports have been sealed under a court order.

Correctional Service Canada officials were mum on Homolka's suit.

"We've been highly instructed to not comment at all," said Linda Mariotti, a department spokesman.

Homolka has refused to take messages from reporters.

-- Files from Alan Findlay

Copyright © 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.