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Nathaniel Veltman murder trial: A recap of week 3

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WARNING: The video and the details in this article may be disturbing to some viewers

The Nathaniel Veltman murder trial continued for a third week, and included testimony from officers who were the first to arrive on the scene of the attack, the parking lot where Veltman was arrested, and video surveillance and testimony from the detective who was the first to interview the accused.

Here’s what you missed.

 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

New video evidence was released on Monday at the request of defence lawyer Christopher Hicks, which depicted Veltman’s progress through the London Police Service (LPS) Headquarters in the first 24 hours after his arrest.

Veltman told London Police Service Det. Micha Bourdeau that following the crash, “I had a huge sense of relief...okay I did it, it’s over, I’m going to jail.”

In the interview, he told Bourdeau that he isn’t a white supremacist but rather someone who believes in nationalism, and said, “White people have the right to exist and we don’t have to give everything to foreigners,” he said.

Veltman said he didn’t have many friends and added, “I’ve prepared myself to spend the rest of my life in jail to send this message.”

When asked if he knew the Afzaal family Veltman said, “I can’t confirm or deny.”

During cross-examination, Hicks argued that the accused hadn’t slept on the night of the recorded police interview and that he hadn’t had much to eat. However, the jury heard the officer offered food to the accused several times.

Hicks also suggested Bourdeau conducted the police interview at 1 a.m. in an attempt to "take advantage of Mr. Veltman" and questioned the urgency of the timing of the interview.

In response, Bourdeau disagreed and testified, “Our city has never seen anything like this before. I would venture to say we didn’t know what we were dealing with. We didn’t know if there was further danger to the public.”

Nathaniel Veltman is seen in surveillance footage taken inside the London Police Headquarters in London, Ont. on June 6, 2021. (Source: Superior Court of Justice)

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

On Tuesday, Bourdeau continued with his testimony.

Hicks questioned Bourdeau on Tuesday regarding Veltman’s mental state during the police interview, including bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I didn’t have any concerns...He (Veltman) did say he was a little shaky out of shock...but I had no concerns about his state of mind when we were talking,” Bourdeau testified.

At one point the officer was asked by the defence if he was startled to learn that Veltman was depressed and had ingested magic mushrooms the day before the crash.

In response, Bourdeau said, “It’s not an alarm bell for me...in his answers he (Veltman) talks about his state on June 6th.”

 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

Court was in session on Wednesday, but the jury was not seated as lawyers and the judge argued legal matters that were subject to a publication ban.

 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

The jury returned on Thursday with Bourdeau taking the stand.

Bourdeau spent multiple days on the stand for the prosecution, including multiple days undergoing cross examination by Veltman’s defence lawyer Christopher Hicks.

On Thursday, Hicks questioned Bourdeau regarding Veltman’s change in demeanour between first and second interviews with London police in the hours after the attack.

Bourdeau commented that during the second interview, Veltman was “quieter” and “a bit subdued” compared to his “talkative” nature during the first interview with police.

“It didn’t surprise me. I would think that over time things would start to sink in,” Bourdeau testified.

The court heard that during the second interview Veltman didn’t think the entire thing was real and that it was a dream.

“It’s the first time he mentioned being confused,” Bourdeau said.

Following Bourdeau’s testimony, three police constables who were the first to arrive on the scene of the attack on Hyde Park Road and South Carriage Road and the shopping mall parking lot where Veltman surrendered to police took the stand.

In testimony that was at times difficult to hear, Const. Michael Olszowy — who was on his 12th shift with London police — and Const. Brock Dease, testified to the graphic nature of the family’s injuries and the chaotic situation that ensued after they arrived on the scene of the crash on June 6, 2021.

The third officer who testified, Const. Patti Leavoy-Costa, said upon arriving at the Cherryhill Mall parking lot, she searched Veltman’s pickup truck and discovered a machete and a pocketknife.

She described Veltman as “excitable” and told the jury he was “continually yelling” but also “appeared to be smiling.”

Hicks objected to her characterization of his client, and so the jury was released for the day.

Nathaniel Veltman is seen during his interview with a London Police Service detective on June 6-7, 2021 in London, Ont. (Source: Superior Court of Justice)

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

On Friday, Leavoy-Costa resumed her testimony, while another officer who arrived on scene moments after Veltman’s arrest also took the stand.

Leavoy-Costa testified that she pulled up to the scene and parked her cruiser in front of his pickup truck.

She said that when looking at the pickup truck, “There appeared to be human tissue on the hood and fabric on the grill.”

When she described Veltman’s demeanour, Leavoy-Costa testified, “There were multiple times where he appeared to be smiling,” and, “He was excited...it was a joyous yelling and screaming. He was causing a scene.”

Det. Const. Matthew Hietkamp told the court on Friday he was on duty that night and was quickly re-directed to the Cherryhill Mall parking lot. When he arrived, Veltman was already in police custody.

Hietkamp testified, “He (Veltman) was happy, smiling, he was giddy.”

On Friday, the jury also saw released video footage of Veltman’s first interviews with police after the attack.

Veltman told Bourdeau that he was not a white supremacist, but a nationalist, and blamed the government, the media, the education system and big corporations for his actions.

“So I decided, ‘Alright this is it, I’m going to commit a terrorist attack,’ I would blame the Western governments for what happened. You can say, ‘Oh it’s your fault Nate, you chose to commit violence,’ but guess what, I’m not allowed any other option of violence. They leave you no choice, they leave us no option,” he said.

As for his state of mind at the time, Veltman said he did not plan on pleading insanity, nor did he plan on claiming he was in a psychotic state. He told Bourdeau that committing the attack “was actually surprisingly easy.”

“I want the world to know why I did what I did so I’m just going to tell you,” he said.

— With files from CTV News London’s Nick Paparella and CTV News Windsor’s Michelle Maluske 

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