Kelly Ellard, changes name, has day parole extended
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, October 30, 2018 5:22PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 31, 2018 6:27AM EDT
VANCOUVER -- A British Columbia woman who brutally beat and drowned 14-year-old Reena Virk near a Victoria-area bridge in 1997 has been granted an extension to her day parole.
Kelly Ellard, 35, was convicted of second-degree murder in 2005 after three trials and received a life sentence. The Parole Board of Canada granted her conditional day parole last November.
The board extended her day parole for another six months in late July, but the decision was only provided to media on Tuesday. It says Ellard successfully completed residential substance abuse treatment and now lives in a halfway house.
"Despite your positive and encouraging commitment to change, the board remains mindful of the seriousness of the index offence," the board members say in the decision.
"You and others caused a horrific and senseless death that was disturbing due to the nature and level of gratuitous violence. The victim's family must live with the consequences of your behaviour."
A court heard Ellard, then 15, and several other teens swarmed and beat Virk, with one attacker putting out a cigarette on her forehead. Ellard and a teenage boy followed Virk across the bridge, smashed her head into a tree and held her underwater until she drowned.
Warren Glowatski was also convicted of second-degree murder and granted full parole in 2010.
In recent years, Ellard has assumed more responsibility for her part in the murder, telling the parole board she rolled Virk's unconscious body into the Gorge waterway. But she has continued to deny holding the girl's head underwater.
The board's decision says Ellard now goes by the name Kerry Marie Sim.
It says she has been open and transparent with her case management team, has managed her daily stress well and has not breached her conditions.
Ellard became pregnant in 2016 during a conjugal visit with her boyfriend, who is also on parole, and the decision says she's working with his case management team and social services to facilitate the care of their child. It does not say where the little boy lives.
"You are very focused on your young child's life," the board members say in the decision. "It would appear that having a child has helped you focus on the important things in life and as a result your motivation to lead a crime free existence remains high."
The board would expect Ellard, as a new parent, to have a significantly greater understanding of the lifelong harm she has caused, the members add.
"While the board recognizes your progress, your reintegration must continue in a slow and gradual process with substantial support and supervision," board members say.
"The board concludes caution is warranted and a longer period of compliance and transparency is required prior to consideration for any expanded form of leave."
Ellard must continue to comply with conditions including not drinking alcohol or using drugs, avoiding people involved in criminal activity and not contacting Virk's family.
Virk's mother, Suman Virk, died in June at 58 years old. Premier John Horgan offered his condolences at the time, saying her "tireless" work to end bullying helped make life better for countless kids in B.C.
Last year, about 200 people gathered outside a historic school that overlooks the beach near where the teen was killed to mark the 20-year anniversary of her death.