Kelly Ellard faces an automatic life sentence. (file photo)

Kelly Ellard has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of British Columbia teenager Reena Virk, found beaten and drowned in a Victoria waterway in 1997.

A jury heard five weeks of testimony and deliberated for five days before giving its verdict on Tuesday.

Ellard had faced two previous trials for the same crime. In the first trial, five years ago, she was found guilty but the verdict was overturned on appeal. The second trial, in mid-2004, ended in a hung jury.

"There is no victory here today, there are no winners. We are all losers," Reena's mother Suman Virk said Tuesday at the courthouse in Vancouver, her eyes brimming with tears.

"I lost a child, my parents lost a grandchild, and the Ellards lost their daughter ... none of our lives will ever be the same again."


Suman Virk

Virk said the two families sat alone in the court after the verdict but they didn't speak.

Ellard, 22, showed no emotion when the verdict was read. She faces an automatic life sentence, with the court still to decide how long she will have to serve before being eligible to apply for parole.

Reena Virk's grandparents were also in court as the verdict was read, as were Ellard's mother and stepfather.

Ellard, now 22, was charged in the drowning death of Virk, 14, in Victoria's Gorge Waterway in November 1997.


Reena Virk was murdered in 1997.

An autopsy revealed Virk had severe bruising over her entire skull, forehead and cheeks. She also suffered bruising on her pelvis, stomach, liver and pancreas.

Crown prosecutors say Virk was first beaten by a group of teenagers under the Craigflower Bridge and then followed across the bridge by Warren Glowatski and Ellard where she was attacked again, dragged to the water and drowned by Ellard.

In 1999, Glowatski was convicted of second-degree murder in Virk's death. Six other young people have also been convicted of assault.

Ellard boasted she broke Virk's arms and jumped on her neck.

Glowatski testified Ellard dragged Virk to the water and then held her head underwater until she drowned. He also admitted in court that he has lied in the past about the case, but maintains he told the truth about Ellard's role in killing Virk.

Glowatski's statement is further supported by Jodene Rogers, a former friend of Ellard's, who testified Ellard joked about how she kicked Virk into the water and then held her head in the water with her foot.

Other witnesses said that in the days that followed the death, Ellard bragged about "finishing off" a girl and boasted that she broke Virk's arms and jumped on her neck.

Arrested on assault charges prior to second trial

Ellard was involved in another incident in February 2004 while out on bail awaiting her second trial.

Police charged her with assault causing bodily harm in the beating of a 58-year-old woman.

Police said Ellard and another young woman were drinking in a park when they invited an older woman to join them. When they couldn't find their cellphone, they accused the older woman of stealing it.

Police said the 58-year-old was "punched in the face quite viciously" until she broke free and called 911.