Day parole extended for Kelly Ellard, 27 years after murder of Reena Virk

Day parole extended for Kelly Ellard, 27 years after murder of Reena Virk
Kelly Ellard leaves the Vancouver courthouse for dinner, March 30, 2000.

Kelly Ellard, now named Kerry Sim, who was convicted of killing Reena Virk in Victoria nearly 30 years ago has had her day parole extended by another six months.

Sim, now 41, was 15 years old when she and a group of teenagers swarmed and beat Virk in 1997.

After the group left, Sim and her co-accused followed Virk and continued to assault her, before ultimately drowning her in the Gorge waterway.

Sim was sentenced to life in prison for second degree murder, and decades later, in 2017, her day parole was first granted.

Since then, her day parole has been periodically extended and on March 28, her day parole was extended by another six months. The parole comes with nine conditions, including not to consume drugs or alcohol, not to have contact with certain people, and to follow treatment plans.

In its decision, the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) recommended that Sim seek part-time work, but it noted that she said she felt busy looking after her two children.

Between September 2023, when her parole was last extended, and in March, the PBC said there was no evidence Sim was misusing substances or displaying violent or aggressive behaviours. There were arrest warrants issued in December because Sim was late for curfew, but the PBC says they were later cancelled due to a “misunderstanding with holidays hours.”

Echoing tragedy

The PBC also noted that Sim’s role in Virk’s death left a traumatizing hole in the victim’s family.

“In making a decision in your case, the Board remains acutely aware you destroyed the lives of the victim’s family by violently killing their young daughter,” reads the decision.

“While time has passed, the Board is mindful that lives of the victim’s family were irrevocably changed and their grief and pain remain. Your violent offending will continue to remain a significant aggravating consideration in your case.”

Virk’s death has come back under the spotlight with the premiere of a new U.S. television series called Under The Bridge, which is based on the book of the same name that covers the events surrounding Virk’s murder.

The series premiered in the U.S. on April 17, and is scheduled to air in Canada on May 8.

Before the show aired, Chris Horsley – Saanich’s former lead media liaison officer during the time of Virk’s murder – said he hoped viewers would remember that Virk was not just a character on a television show, but a real girl who lived in Greater Victoria who was brutally murdered.

“It’s a real story with real victims, and I urge people that do watch the series to please never lose sight of the fact that an innocent 14-year-old girl lost her life,” he said.

The PBC noted that Sim feels like the show is “disrespectful” to Virk’s family and worried that the teen’s death was “so horrendous that [the show] would re-victimize the victim’s family.”

With files from The Canadian Press


Adam ChanAdam Chan

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