Opening statements to be heard in Nathaniel Veltman trial

The Crown wasted little time in pointing the finger at the man accused of killing a London, Ont. Muslim family by running them over with a pickup truck as opening statements got underway in a Windsor courtroom on Monday.

In her opening address, Sarah Shaikh told the jury that evidence will show Nathaniel Veltman, 22, intended to kill the family.

She said, through two police interviews, evidence will show that Veltman had planned the murders for three months.

“Mr. Veltman got into his truck and went to search for Muslims to kill,” she said.

She told the jury that Veltman saw the Afzaal family walking along Hyde Park Road in west London on June 6, 2021 and identified them as Muslims by the clothes they were wearing.

“He [Veltman] made a U-turn and drove directly at them…in his own words he was going, ‘Pedal to the metal,’” said Shaikh.

The Crown said evidence will show that after he was arrested, Veltman told police that he killed a bunch of people and that he knew what he was doing and didn’t regret it.

She said that he admitted to police that it was an act of terrorism.

The Crown said it would show that Veltman is a white nationalist with extreme right wing views.

“He blamed Muslims for crimes he thought they were committing…he wanted to send a message,” said Shaikh.

When police seized a computer from his London apartment they found two manifestos and a document they believe was written by Veltman entitled, ‘A White Awakening.’

Shaikh said in it he wanted to send a message to the world to know what he had done and that he wanted to drive Muslims out of the country.

Veltman has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Four members of the Afzaal family — a father, mother, 15-year-old daughter and grandmother — all died after they were run over by a pickup truck.

The lone survivor, a nine-year old son, who is now 11, is living with family.

For the first time at the trial, relatives of the Afzaal family were at the proceedings sitting in the body of the courtroom.

The first witness called was a family member who isn’t being identified out of respect for the family’s privacy. He called the Afzaals a “peace loving” family.

The trial was originally slated to last 12 to 14 weeks, but after the Crown and the defence cut the witness list down, the jury was told it may only take eight weeks to get through all of the evidence.

The Crown will continue with its case when testimony resumes on Tuesday. 


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