The Parole Board of Canada has extended Kelly Ellard’s conditional parole for a further six months with overnight leave.
Ellard, who now goes by the name Kerry Sim, was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1997 death of 14-year-old Reena Virk.
Ellard received day parole in November 2017 and the parole board has extended it in six-month increments on several occasions.
In a decision from July, the Parole Board of Canada noted it “remains cognizant of the seriousness and gravity of the index offence that senselessly ended the life of a young woman in a violent way. The murder not only impacted the deceased victim’s family, who were shattered, but also shocked the greater community.”
The decision stated Ellard remained defiant for years following the murder and it took her a long time to accept responsibility for her actions and admit to the level of violence she committed.
Ellard has several psychological and psychiatric assessments on file. “A 2012 psychological assessment report assessed your risk for violent recidivism as moderate to high,” reads the decision. “However, in 2014 a psychological assessment report assessed your risk to re-offend generally and violently as low.”
The most recent assessment from 2016 points to a moderate to high-moderate risk of future violence over the longer term, especially if Ellard were to consume or abuse substances or associate with negative peers.
There is also a positive therapy report on file from 2018, that indicates Ellard continues to mature and demonstrate progress.
While the decision notes Ellard has had some institutional behaviour issues at times, the last reported incidence of violence was in 2009.
While in prison, Ellard has successfully completed a number of correctional programs, and in September 2016 was assessed as a minimum security offender.
Correctional Service of Canada reported Ellard has been open and transparent with her case management team and there has been no indication of a breach of conditions or substance abuse while on day parole. Ellard has also participated in counselling, seems to be avoiding negative associations and has secured employment. Correctional Service Canada also noted it believes Ellard’s risk continues to be manageable in the community under these conditions.
Conditions imposed on the release include not consuming, purchasing or possessing any drugs other than prescribed or over-the-counter medication; not consuming, purchasing or possessing any alcohol; following a treatment plan or program arranged by a parole supervisor in the areas of substance abuse, emotions management, reintegration stressors, and personal trauma; avoiding people who are involved or believed to be involved in criminal activity or substance use; and no direct or indirect contact with any member of the deceased victim’s family.
While the board noted concern about the level of violence Ellard has demonstrated she is capable of, it noted she has made many positive steps and believes her continued day parole will not constitute an undue risk to the public.
With this decision, the board authorized overnight leave, which will allow Ellard to further reintegrate into the community.
More than 20 years ago, at the age of 15, Ellard swarmed Virk with several other teens. Ellard, along with a teenage boy, then held Virk underwater near a Greater Victoria bridge until she stopped moving.
Virk’s family has said, when Ellard first received day parole in 2017, that she has never shown enough remorse for her actions.
Ellard became pregnant in 2016 during a conjugal visit with her boyfriend and, according to past decisions from the Parole Board of Canada, her young child is a “strong motivator” for her to improve her life.
Ellard was convicted in 2005 after three trials and received a life sentence. The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the conviction in 2009. While out on bail, Ellard was also charged with assault causing bodily harm in February 2004.
Though a teenager at the time of the murder, she was given an adult sentence, due to the nature of the offence. She was eligible to apply for parole in 2013 but didn’t apply until 2016 and was denied at first. In February 2016, Ellard was given permission to take temporary escorted trips to parenting programs and doctor appointments.