Mukand Lal Pallan, (left), father of Manjit Virk (centre), and Amarjit Pallan take comfort as supporters speak at a memorial marking 20 years since the swarming and bullying death of 14-year-old Reena the Craigflower Schoolhouse in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, November 14, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Kelly Ellard’s parole delivers blow to her victim’s family

Reena Virk’s mother says Ellard has yet to take full responsibility for her daughter’s death

The mother of Reena Virk questions whether the convicted killer of her daughter has shown enough contrition.

“I don’t think that [Kelly Ellard] has taken full responsibility in Reena’s death, and I think she been minimizing her role,” said Suman Virk in an interview Thursday afternoon. Ultimately, Ellard will have to prove that she is deserving of this chance.

She made those comments after the Parole Board of Canada granted Ellard conditional approval for day parole for six months, pending completion of a residential treatment program for substance abuse. Ellard met with parole board officials Thursday.

Virk said she and her husband Manjit had no input in the decision, which gives Ellard her first real chance at one day being released from prison.

“We have no role in making this decision,” she said.

The couple heard of the decision through media and parole board officials after they had made their decision.

Virk said she and her husband hope the publicity will end soon. “We have gone with our life, since Reena has been killed,” she said.

Thursday’s decision comes one year after officials had denied Ellard’s first request for parole, and just weeks after dozens of Victoria residents came together to pay tribute to Reena Virk, who was killed by Ellard and other classmates on Nov. 14, 1997.

“We know there will be times when these things will happen but let’s look at our own family situations,” Reena’s father Manjit said during the tribute at Kosapsom Park, the place of her death. “What our kids learn in the family stays with them.

“Reena was protected, she was raised with love and kindness [and] she was trusting. When she went to school she had a hard time, people bullied her, people thought she was different [and] she was very puzzled. Why would people pick on her. We always told her, this is part of life, people have different values, they’ll mistreat you, be kind to them, talk to teachers, talk to us.”

The killing of a 14-year-old student at the time shocked and saddened not only those in Victoria, but people around the country.

One of the Saanich Police officers involved in the case was Chris Horsley. He is now a Staff Sgt., but had only been on the job for three years at the time.

“There were murders in Saanich but not one of this magnitude, who happened to be girls,” Horsley said.

“My own daughter, born two days after Reena’s death, went through the school system, and one of her assignments was to read the book about Reena Virk. That was a barometer for me.”

Ellard is now 35 years old with a young child of her own, conceived during a conjugal visit with her boyfriend, who is also behind bars.

She resides at a women’s prison in Abbotsford with her young child and has spent about 15 years behind bars. She was finally convicted of second-degree murder in 2005 after three trials.

Opinion has been mixed with readers; some feeling the crime was so vicious that Ellard should never be released, while others believe she has served her time.

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