Psychopathic pet killer released on probation in Vancouver

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew

Kayla Bourque is a slightly built 22-year-old university student. She is also an emotionless animal killer and, authorities worry, a potential serial murderer.

But the young B.C. woman is being released from jail soon and police can do little but watch her.

Bourque, who grew up in Prince George, B.C., after being adopted at age eight months from a Romanian orphanage, was sentenced last week to two additional months in jail on animal cruelty charges after spending six months in custody.

When she's released, she'll be on probation for three years and subject to almost four dozen conditions, as well as being monitored by the Vancouver police high-risk offender unit.

She can't use the Internet, can't be around anyone under age 18, must advise anyone she befriends about her history, can't possess duct tape, knives and hypodermic needles and is banned from owning animals for life, among many other restrictions.

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How does a young woman with no previous criminal history warrant such a circumscribed life?

Bourque was arrested last March under the B.C. Mental Health Act after telling a fellow student at her residence at Simon Fraser University in suburban Vancouver that she had disemboweled and dismembered cats in Prince George and fantasized about killing homeless people, CBC News reported.

The provincial court hearing heard that a search of her room turned up video of Bourque torturing her family's cat and hanging and disemboweling the family dog, complete with narration, CBC News said.

Investigators also found what they described as a "kill kit" containing a knife, syringe, plastic restraints, black gloves and a demon mask, according to CTV News.

The court learned that as far back as high school, Bourque had admitted having the urge to "kill someone."

The one-time criminology and psychology student told a fellow SFU student she wanted to kill someone in residence and court heard was taking classes in forensic science so she could "get away" with a future crime, CBC News said.

A psychologist who spoke to Bourque told her sentencing hearing she will likely need supervision for the rest of her life.

Provincial Court Judge Malcolm MacLean summed up the evidence depicting Bourque as a "psychopathic and narcissistic ... sexual sadist" obsessed with violence and completely lacking in empathy or remorse, Vancouver Sun columnist Ian Mulgrew wrote Monday.

"It is clear that Ms. Bourque is a very unique and troubling case," Maclean, said, according to CBC News,  as he delivered what he described as "probably one of the most comprehensive probation orders I've ever done."

A case like Bourque's poses a dilemma for the Canadian justice system. If her probation ends without incident in three years, presumably she's free of the severe restrictions the court has placed on her.

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The psychological problems she evidently has weren't enough to get her locked up under provisions covering those deemed not criminal responsible for their actions, Mulgrew noted.

In the meantime, Bourque's family does not want her back at home. Presumably she won't be welcomed back at SFU either.

The only hope seems to be that Bourque will find a way to control her urges to inflict pain and kill.

"In Canada, we do not jail people for the darkness in their hearts, only when they act on such impulses," Mulgrew wrote.