Virk killer claims TV series based on crime 'disrespectful'

Kelly Ellard, now known as Kelly Sim, is seen here in 2000. The 41-year-old is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in the 1997 killing of Reena Virk. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Kelly Ellard, now known as Kelly Sim, is seen here in 2000. The 41-year-old is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in the 1997 killing of Reena Virk. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Nearly three decades after she held Reena Virk's head under water until the 14-year-old drowned, the woman convicted of murder in the case reportedly feels the crime is so "horrendous" that basing a TV series on it could traumatize Virk's family.

According to a recent parole board decision, Kelly Sim — who was known as Kelly Ellard at the time of Virk's murder — has expressed "some remorse and victim empathy" while discussing the release of the new Hulu true-crime series Under the Bridge with corrections officials.

Last month, the parole board extended day parole for Sim, who is serving a life-sentence for second-degree murder in the 1997 killing. The decision describes a 41-year-old struggling with children, single-parenting, the high cost of living — and the consequences of her actions.

"Your [community management team] indicates you admit to having a greater role in [Reena Virk's murder]," the decision says.

"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, and that the index offence was so horrendous that it would re-victimize the victim's family."

'High-moderate risk for future violence'

The impact of Virk's murder continues to reverberate years after Sim and Warren Glowatski followed the teenager across the Craigflower Bridge and dragged her into Victoria's Gorge waterway following a savage beating by a swarm of teens Virk thought were friends.

The case has inspired books, plays and podcast episodes. The new series — which stars Oscar-nominee Lily Gladstone — is based on the 2005 non-fiction book Under the Bridge.


Sim — who has had a troubled history before the parole board — has long stood in stark contrast to Glowatski, who was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999 but sought forgiveness from Virk's parents, meeting with them to express his remorse.

Sim stood trial three times for the murder before the Supreme Court of Canada finally upheld her conviction in 2009.

She was released on day parole in 2018, but has been hauled back in front of the parole board for domestic violence and a positive urine test for codeine. According to the parole documents, Sim was arrested in 2021 because of a deterioration in behaviour.

The parole documents say Sim is considered a "high-moderate risk for future violence over the long term and a relatively low risk over the short term. Your risk would be on the higher end should you abuse substances or associate with negative individuals."

'Stalled in this nightmare'

The judge who sentenced Sim in 2005 seemed to presage the problems that have followed her to this day.

"You alone are responsible for your situation, and until you reach this elementary conclusion you will not grow," the judge said at the time.

"You will not rehabilitate; you will be forever stalled in this nightmare which you have created."


Virk's family did not provide a statement for the latest parole board hearing, but the board noted past statements as recent as 2021 in which they "described the devastating impact of the victim's murder on her family."

"The victim's family have also conveyed that your ongoing issues with non-compliance continue to cause the family stress and anxiety as they cannot escape the media coverage," the decision says.

Virk's mother, Suman, who was outspoken in the years after her daughter's death, died in 2018 in what the family called a "tragic accident."

According to the parole documents, Sim lives in a community-based residential facility in the Lower Mainland, where she's struggling to cope with life on a limited budget and a lack of child-care options.

"You have also expressed frustration and anxiety about your situation," the decision says.

"[You have] 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 ultimately decided to extend Sim's parole for another six months. The terms of her release include prohibitions on consuming alcohol or drugs and not to have any contact with member of Virk's family.