Bad behind bars

FOR most of the last quarter of a century, Selva Kumar Subbiah has been an inmate at the maximum security Kingston Penitentiary.

It was home to some of Canada’s most dangerous criminals including serial killers Clifford Olsen and Paul Bernardo, before it was shut down and turned into a museum.


During his time in Kingston Penitentiary, Selva Kumar worked as a dome cleaner.

He worked afternoons and evenings in the dome, clearing garbage and washing floors.


When not working, he continued to prey on women, from behind those foreboding walls.

Jail guards reported he had:

  • Consistently tried to establish relationships with women via phone calls.

  • And through classified ads by continuing to pose as a modelling agent and talent scout.

One prison report said:

  • He used voice mail, phoney mailing addresses and a girlfriend on the outside to set up three-way calls so women didn’t know he was in prison.

Police said he scouted newspapers and TV programmes for:

  • Pretty women, found their numbers in the phone book and called them using aliases such as Richard Wilder, King R., Su Wild and Richard Suw.

They said they knew of at least 25 women — from Ontario, British Columbia and California — who he had lured into long term correspondence by using a false identity.


One of them was a 48-year-old Toronto telemarketing agent who had placed a personal ad in March 1996.

“I hadn’t dated for years since my divorce and thought it would be a way to meet a nice man,” she told Toronto Star.

“I was looking for someone upbeat, down-to-earth, compassionate and a good conversationalist.

“He was amazing, interesting with a wonderful British accent. He had verve in his voice. He sounded so alive.”

By the time Selva Kumar called, she had received more than 100 replies but one stood out.


A parole report into his activities in prison said he: “Continued to harass and manipulate women from prison with goals of obtaining nude pictures or to have phone sex.”

When not prowling for victims while in prison, he was running another enterprise from his cell — a jailhouse black market.

During a search, he was found in possession of sharpened cutlery, knives, pills, excessive unauthorised canteen items, vitamins and a debt list.


On May 14, 2009, Selva Kumar was attacked by two inmates who managed to block open a door so it could not be locked.

They stabbed him six times in his neck, head and body.

A few weeks later he sued the Correction Service of Canada, arguing prison staff were negligent and failed to take reasonable care to protect his safety. The case was dismissed in November 2013.

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