Kelly Ellard, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1997 beating and drowning death of 14-year-old Reena Virk, has had her day parole extended for another sixth months.
The mother of two was also granted additional leave privileges that will allow her to live with her family for up to five days at a time. She was previously allowed four-day leaves from her residential facility.
Ellard, who goes by Kerry Marie Sim, is in her late 30s. She was first granted day parole in 2017 and has completed five stretches without breaching her conditions.
She continues to participate in regular counseling and reports show she has learned to control her emotions and impulsivity, the Parole Board of Canada states in its decision.
“Your post offence behaviour was extremely callous,” the board says. “Your early institutional behaviour was problematic as it included issues with substance misuse and violent behaviour.
“However, to your credit, you have demonstrated increased accountability for your actions and there have been no concerns related to substance misuse or violent behaviour for many years.”
Reena was swarmed and beaten by a group of mostly teen girls under the Craigflower Bridge on Nov. 14, 1997. As she limped across the bridge after the attack, she was followed by Warren Glowatski, then 16, and Ellard, then 15. The two continued the assault, and then drowned Reena by holding her head under water.
Ellard was tried three times. She was convicted in 2000, but the decision was overturned on appeal and a new trial was ordered. Her second trial ended in a hung jury, and her third jury found her guilty in 2005. That conviction was overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal in 2008, but the Crown appealed it to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2009. The court’s 8-1 decision ended the prospect of a rare fourth trial for Ellard.
The parole board said victim impact statements make clear the “immeasurable loss and grief” experienced by Reena’s family.
“One statement described the loss of never seeing the victim grow up, graduate, pursue a career and have her own family,” the decision says.
The conditions of Ellard’s parole remain in place, including abstaining from alcohol and drugs, and avoiding any contact with Reena’s family.
“You caused devastating harm to the deceased victim’s family,” the board says. “They have every right to live their lives without the fear or worry of any unwanted contact from you.”