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Reena Virk's killer thinks TV show about crime 'disrespectful': B.C. parole documents

Kelly Ellard and her father, Lawrence, leave the Vancouver courthouse on March 30, 2000. Reena Virk's killer told parole officials that a television series about the Victoria, B.C., teen's murder in 1997 is "disrespectful" and will "re-victimize" Virk's family. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Adrian Wyld

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Reena Virk's killer told parole officials that a television series about the Victoria, B.C., teen's murder is "disrespectful" and will "re-victimize" Virk's family. 

Documents released by the Parole Board of Canada Wednesday say that Virk's killer Kelly Ellard — who changed her name to Kerry Sim — demonstrated "remorse and victim empathy" after discussing the TV show about the high-profile 1997 murder with her case managers. 

The parole board decision said Sim, who was 15 at the time of the murder, admitted to playing a "greater role" in Virk's death, and believes it was "so horrendous" that the television show, "Under the Bridge," will "re-victimize the victim's family." 

"You recently also demonstrated some remorse and victim empathy after a discussion about an upcoming television series based on your crimes. You said the series is disrespectful to the victim and her family," the decision says. 

Sim is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder of Virk, who was 14 at the time.

Virk had already been badly beaten by a group of teenagers under the Craigflower Bridge before Sim drowned her in the nearby Gorge waterway. 

The miniseries "Under the Bridge," released this month on the American streaming service Hulu, is based on a 2005 book of the same name by author Rebecca Godfrey. 

The series is set to be released in Canada on Disney+ next month, and promotional materials for the show say, "the series takes us into the hidden world of the young girls accused of the murder — revealing startling truths about the unlikely killer."

The parole board found that Sim is striving to have a "pro-social life," raising her two children as a single mother after splitting with their father. 

"Recently, you have also expressed frustration and anxiety about your situation and often blamed your inability to move forward on the requirement to reside at the (community based residential facility), the high cost of living, parenting struggles as a single mother, and your ex-spouse abandoning you and your children," the board found. 

The board's decision to continue her day parole said Sim has improved her ability to manage stress and maintained her sobriety, finding that her release will "contribute to the protection of society by facilitating (her) reintegration into society as a law-abiding citizen."

"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," the decision says. 

"The board has considered that you have since spent much of your life in prison and under community supervision. During this time, you have struggled at various points but have continued to make incremental improvements in your ability to manage your risk." 

— By Darryl Greer in Vancouver

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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