Kelly Ellard, 30, waives latest parole hearing for 1997 murder of Victoria teen Reena Virk

Convicted killer, Kelly Ellard, has again waived her right to a parole hearing while still serving her sentence for the 1997 murder of Saanich teenager Reena Virk. The National Parole Board confirmed Wednesday that Ellard will, for a second time in two years, defer her application for parole.Virk’s parents want to forgive Ellard, who has never publicly admitted to killing their daughter, but they say that process can only begin when they see that Ellard has made improvements in her life. A big part of that process, for Reena’s father Manjit Virk, is accepting responsibility.“If you want to deny it forever, in the light of all the proof against you… She just made it hard on herself now,” he said. “If she’s showing she has changed, anybody can be forgiven.”Ellard and Warren Glowatski were convicted of second-degree murder for the brutal beating and drowning of 14-year-old Virk in 1997. Ellard was 15 at the time and Glowatski was 16.  Virk was assaulted by a group of mostly teenage girls on Nov. 14, 1997. When it was over, Ellard and Glowatski followed Virk over the Craigflower Bridge, continuing to hit her until she was unconscious, and then dragged her into the Gorge waterway. The court heard that Glowatski held Virk’s head under the water until she drowned. The case drew international attention to violence among teenage girls. Ellard always maintained her innocence, while Glowatski admitted to the crime and underwent significant rehabilitation, including meeting Virks’s parents through a restorative justice program. Glowatski received full parole in the summer of 2010, but Ellard has a much more storied timeline since the killing. She was found guilty in 2000, but her conviction was overturned. A second trial in 2004 ended with a hung jury. It took a third trial, in 2005, before Ellard was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for seven years.She later won an appeal, but it was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2009.Ellard also waived her parole review two years ago. Her latest deferral means her next opportunity for a review for full parole won’t be until February 2015. She can apply for unescorted temporary absence or day parole at any time. Parole board members say there are many reasons why people defer their application. “It could be that they don’t feel ready, or they don’t feel like they have a chance anyway, so why bother,” said Patrick Storey, spokesman for the National Parole Board of Canada.Some inmates wait until they complete rehabilitation programs to make sure they have the right endorsements before applying. Other people, however, may not apply because they know they lack that support, despite going through programs.A person is not required to admit their guilt before receiving parole, but they have to show they are not a threat to the public.“The risk to the community is the No. 1 focus of the board and its decision,” Storey said. “Members must base their decision on evidence of a significant and lasting change in behaviour.”dspalding@timescolonist.com

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