Kelly Ellard and her father Lawrence leave the Vancouver courthouse. A British Columbia woman who killed 14-year-old Reena Virk near a Victoria-area bridge two decades ago is asking a parole board to release her from prison. Kelly Ellard, who was 15 at the time of the death, is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder and will appear before a board today to request her release on day parole. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ellard gets conditional day parole while serving sentence in Reena Virk killing

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Two decades after 14-year-old Reena Virk was savagely beaten and drowned near a bridge in the Victoria-area, her killer has been granted conditional approval for day parole.

Kelly Ellard, 35, wiped away tears on Thursday as a two-member panel granted her day parole for six months. She’ll first have to complete a residential treatment program for substance abuse during that term.

Panel member Colleen Zuk said Ellard was largely responsible for Virk’s death in a crime she described as “heinous.”

“It’s very problematic in your case that there have been years and years of deception, of lying about the facts,” Zuk said. “Today we found that you continued to somewhat minimize.”

However, she said she found Ellard to be more transparent than in the past, including admitting she planned to harm Virk and said she wanted to “get rid of her” after the beating.

Zuk said it helped that Ellard has done trauma counselling and had the support of her parole officer, who said her last substance abuse issue was in June 2015 and she has not been violent in a decade.

Before the decision, Ellard said there was nothing Virk could have possibly said or done to deserve what happened to her.

“It wasn’t about her,” she said. “She should have been at home with her family who loved her, not out with us that night, and I’m very sorry.”

After six months, the parole board will review the decision. Ellard will be subject to conditions including that she not use drugs or alcohol or contact anyone involved in crime or Virk’s family.

Ellard has served about 15 years in prison, having spent some periods out on bail. She was convicted of second-degree murder in 2005 after three trials and is serving a life sentence.

Mukand Pallan, Virk’s grandfather, said the family has been waiting for an apology for 20 years.

“If she has admitted fully her guilt, and she has said sorry, I don’t think there’s anything else we can ask for. And if she’s just playing games like she’s been doing for the last 20 years, it won’t satisfy us,” he said.

“Still, she has to admit fully that she’s responsible for it and she killed Reena. And she should say ‘I’m sorry for that.’ “

A court heard Ellard, then 15, and several other teens swarmed and beat Virk before Ellard and a teenage boy followed her 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.

Ellard has recently assumed more responsibility for her part in the murder, saying she rolled Virk’s unconscious body into the Gorge waterway.

But she continued to deny holding the girl’s head underwater on Thursday.

“I am adamant that didn’t happen,” she told the panel. “Someone who had been beaten that badly, you wouldn’t need to hold them under water.”

The panel pressed her to explain why she pushed Virk’s body into the water. Ellard replied that she was terrified the girl would call police.

“I had never seen anything like that,” Ellard said, breaking down in tears. “Either she was dead or she was dying. I just wanted to get rid of her.”

When asked who was responsible for Virk’s death, she replied, “I am.”

Ellard first applied for day parole in 2016 and was denied. But in February she was granted temporary escorted absences to go to parenting programs and doctors’ appointments with her infant son.

She became pregnant last year after having conjugal visits with her boyfriend, who is also in prison and is scheduled to return to the community soon. The baby lives with Ellard in prison.

Ellard said she has suffered from anxiety her entire life and it was especially acute when she first went out on escorted absences.

“When I was first going out and someone looked at me, (I thought) they’re judging me and I have a sign flashing above my head that I’m a monster,” she said.

But Ellard said she turned her attention to her son and thought about how lucky she was to have him.

She said she intends to co-parent with her boyfriend but if he commits a crime or uses drugs, she’s prepared to leave.

“As much as I love him, if I had to let go … for the sake of myself and my child, I would.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce announces business of the year winners

All finalists ‘displayed courage’ this year, says chamber CEO

More than 400 COVID-19 cases reported in Alberta Wednesday, according to multiple reports. (File photo)
Over 400 additional COVID-19 cases Wednesday

3,372 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta

A 47-megawatt solar power project has been proposed for a site southwest of the Nova Chemicals petrochemical complex.
Map contributed
$52-million solar power project proposed for Joffre

Project to be built southwest of Nova Chemicals plant could be producing power by the end of 2021

AnnaMarie Lea, artistic director of Lacombe’s Cow Patti Theatre, thinks a lot of people would love to focus on something other than the pandemic, with a few hours of entertainment. (Contributed photo).
Some Red Deer-area shows will go on — with new pandemic precautions

Some theatrical productions are happening under new rules

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer will be at the legislature Thursday to urge members of the UCP caucus to drop the plan to consolidate EMS dispatch by Jan. 4. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Red Deer mayor takes EMS consolidation fight to Edmonton

Mayors of Red Deer, Lethbridge, Calgary and Wood Buffalo to address UCP caucus on Thursday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier isolating after minister tests positive for COVID-19

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is isolating at home

Tampa Bay Rays' Brandon Lowe rounds the bases after a home run off Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin during the first inning in Game 2 of the baseball World Series Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Lowe homers twice, Rays hold off Dodgers 6-4 to even Series

Lowe homers twice, Rays hold off Dodgers 6-4 to even Series

Mighty Heart is held outside trainer Josie Carroll's stable by exercise rider Des McMahon, as the colt is washed down after being breezed at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto on October 15, 2020. Mighty Heart will make his Triple Crown quest from the the No. 8 post Saturday. The Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales champion was named the even-money favourite in the draw Wednesday for the $400,000 Breeders' Stakes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Mighty Heart to take run at ending Triple Crown drought in $400,000 Breeders Stakes

Mighty Heart to take run at ending Triple Crown drought in $400,000 Breeders Stakes

Toronto Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro watches during baseball spring training in Dunedin, Fla., on Friday, February 24, 2017/ Short on specifics and long on bullishness, Shapiro set an optimistic tone during his first general media availability since the team was eliminated from the post-season a few weeks ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro short on specifics, long on bullishness

Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro short on specifics, long on bullishness

Liverpool's Fabinho, saves from the goal line after a header from Ajax's captain Dusan Tadic from scoring during the group D Champions League soccer match between Ajax and Liverpool at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Real Madrid beaten again, Bayern surges in Champions League

Real Madrid beaten again, Bayern surges in Champions League

Toronto Wolfpack captain Josh McCrone raises the Betfred Championship Trophy alongside teammates after defeating the Featherstone Rovers in the Million Pound Game in Betfred Championship rugby league action in Toronto on October 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Financially troubled Toronto Wolfpack could learn fate soon as early as next week

Financially troubled Toronto Wolfpack could learn fate soon as early as next week

Kansas City Chiefs' Demarcus Robinson (11) holds off Buffalo Bills' Tre'Davious White (27) as Bills' Justin Zimmer (61) also pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Bills defence looks to rebound after consecutive losses

Bills defence looks to rebound after consecutive losses

CPL champion Forge FC ready for CONCACAF League opener in El Salvador

CPL champion Forge FC ready for CONCACAF League opener in El Salvador

Most Read