'She would be alive if I hadn't been there': Reena Virk's killer denied day parole
A B.C. woman who assaulted and drowned 14-year-old Reena Virk near a Victoria bridge in 1997 has been denied parole.
But for the first time since the murder, Kelly Ellard accepted some responsibility for Virk's death in Tuesday's hearing.
Ellard, now 33, was seeking day parole after she was convicted of second-degree murder in the incident, which made national headlines and put a spotlight on teen bullying.
She was 15 years old when she and a group of teens swarmed and attacked Virk under Victoria's Craigflower Bridge.
Virk staggered to a nearby shore, but she was followed by 16-year-old Warren Glowatski and Ellard, who knocked her unconscious against a tree before holding her head underwater, drowning her.
In the hearing Tuesday, Ellard admitted she pushed the girl into water while she was unconscious, but did not confess to holding her head underwater.
"She would be alive if I hadn't been there," Ellard admitted to the parole board.
She had previously denied her involvement with the drowning despite being convicted in 2009.
Reasons for the parole denial included Ellard using crystal meth in prison, not accepting enough responsibility for Virk's murder and associating with bad influences.
The board also concluded she could not be managed safely in the community yet.
In her final comments to the board, Ellard expressed a desire to move on with her life using the phrase “enough is enough.”
“The parole board interpreted that as her showing a sense of entitlement, and I guess they felt perhaps that a humbler attitude was more appropriate given the circumstances,” said parole board spokesman Patrick Storey.
He said that while Ellard has made some “positive changes in her life and in her behaviour,” it wasn’t enough.
“It was their impression that she still seems to be minimizing certain aspects of the offence, and many of the changes she has made so far are recent,” Storey said.
The board said while she’s accepting more responsibility in Virk’s death, Ellard is still not admitting to what she was convicted of.
She’ll now return to her life sentence in prison and can apply for day parole again in a year.
But Storey said she could apply for a lesser form of release prior to that, including unescorted temporary absences.
Ellard was found guilty in her third trial for Virk's second-degree murder in 2009 and sentenced to life in prison, after two previous trials resulted in a successful appeal, then a hung jury.
Three other girls were convicted of assault in the case and Glowatski was found guilty of second-degree murder.
Kelly Ellard told parole board intense media attention on her crime almost made her want to stay in jail forever. See @CTVNewsVI— Robert Buffam (@CTVNewsRob) May 3, 2016
Kelly Ellard admits to binge use of crystal meth while in prison. Her substance abuse was a factor why denied parole. See @CTVNewsVI— Robert Buffam (@CTVNewsRob) May 3, 2016
At one point Ellard said "enough is enough" in making case for day parole. Parole board did not like sense of entitlement in that statement.— Andrew Johnson (@CTVNewsAndrew) May 3, 2016