JUST 16 days after a memorial to mark the 20th anniversary of 14-year-old Reena Virk’s horrific murder by teenagers in Saanich, one of her killers, Kelly Ellard, was on Thursday given conditional approval for day parole for six months.
However, she has to complete a residential treatment program for substance abuse before that. The parole board will review its decision after six months. The parole will begin as soon as she enters the treatment program, a Canadian Press report said.
CTV reported that one panel member told Ellard: “It’s very problematic in your case that there have been years and years of deception, of lying about the facts. Today we found that you continued to somewhat minimize.”
But Ellard admitted: “I just wanted to get rid of her in the moment and I know that’s awful and I’m having trouble saying that.” However, she insisted that she was not the one who held Virk’s head under water until she died.
Virk’s parents told CTV that they will struggle to find closure until Ellard fully acknowledges her role in their daughter’s death and apologizes for what she did.
Ellard was convicted of second-degree murder along with Warren Glowatski for Reena’s brutal beating and drowning on November 14, 1997, in Saanich. Ellard was 15 and Glowatski was 16 at the time of the crime. Six other teens were convicted of assault-related charges. Glowatski served his maximum seven-year term and was released on day parole in 2007 and on full parole in 2010.
Ellard’s verdict was overturned on appeal. Her second trial in 2004 ended in a hung jury. She was convicted at the third trial in 2005, but that verdict was overturned by the B. C. Court of Appeal. In 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada by an 8-1 ruling overturned the split decision of the B.C. Court of Appeal in 2008.
A parole hearing at Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Institution for Women in May 2016 denied Ellard day parole. It noted Ellard had now admitted her role in Virk’s killing, but not according to the version outlined by the judge.
In February 2017, Ellard was granted temporary escorted absences from prison to attend medical appointments and mom-and-tot programs following the birth of her child last fall.
A parole board member said it was disturbing that she continued to minimize her crime. However, because of her good behaviour in prison, and low risk to reoffend, the member said that she should be allowed the absences.