Skip to main content

'None of my justifications make any sense': Accused in London, Ont. truck attack backtracks on statements to police

Share

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

Nathaniel Veltman, 22, returned to the witness box for a fifth straight day on Wednesday, in his ongoing murder trial happening in Windsor, Ont.

Assistant Crown attorney Jennifer Moser continued her cross-examination of Veltman on four counts of terrorism-motivated first-degree murder and one count of terrorism-motivated attempted murder.

On June 6, 2021, four members of the Afzaal family died from multiple trauma injuries — grandmother Talat, her son Salman, his wife Madiha and their teenage daughter Yumnah. Their nine-year-old son survived his serious injuries.

Although he pleaded not guilty to all charges, Veltman has also admitted in court he drove his pickup truck into the family while they waited to cross the intersection of Hyde Park Road and South Carriage Road.

In his statements to police less than 24 hours after the attack, Veltman not only confessed his actions but told police they were motivated by his far-right extremist beliefs avenging alleged minority on white crimes he believed were going unreported in mainstream media.

“You said exactly what you were thinking because that is exactly what the truth is,” Moser said to Veltman.

In his police statements, Veltman also talked about being inspired by other terrorist acts and hoping he would inspire others with his actions in London.

At his trial, more than two years and four months later, Veltman told the jury, “None of my justifications make any sense.”

Veltman described his interviews with police as “nonsense,” “excuses,” and “loose talk.”

He told the jury in the moments after his arrest the reality of his situation started to take hold and so he paced in his cell trying to “brainstorm” justifications for his actions.

Veltman told the jury he was trying to “shift the blame” anywhere he could including against Muslims, Western countries and the mainstream media.

“Or, it’s the truth Mr. Veltman?” Moser asked, which he denied.

He told the jury he had become an expert at hiding his true emotions and thoughts from people.

Throughout her cross examination, Moser also went through Veltman’s testimony in detail, and highlighted inconsistencies or making suggestions to him about his real motivations.

 

THE FAMILY

Veltman admitted he didn’t know the Afzaal family and only noticed them because of the “garb” they were wearing.

Moser noted for the jury, only the older women – Talat and Madiha – were wearing shalwar and kameez. The men were not dressed in traditional Pakistani clothing.

When he saw the family Veltman said the urge to “hit the gas” was much stronger than the previous two times.

 

THE ATTACK

Veltman told the jury he decided at the last “split second” to try to avoid hitting the family.

“That’s completely false sir,” Moser said to Veltman Wednesday, who noted that an experienced driver knows to “hit the brakes” before hitting something.

She reminded the jury of previous evidence which indicated in the four seconds before the family was struck, the gas pedal was pressed 100 per cent and the brake was never applied.

Moser accused Veltman of veering slightly to the left before impact “to make sure you hit every single member of the family.”

Veltman denied it.

“You were a real and present danger to Muslims in London,” Moser said to Veltman. “You had found your target. All your pent up rage had found its mark.”

“I’m not sure how I would describe it,” he replied.

 

THE ARREST

While under arrest by Cnst. Sarah Cochrane, the jury learned Veltman turned to the cab driver who called police and said “make a movie.”

Moser accused Veltman of saying that because he wanted a video of his arrest “out there to be shared with the rest of the world” as another part of his “message of intimidation.”

On the stand Wednesday, Veltman denied he wanted to send a message nor did he wish to inspire others.

 

THE TRUCK

Moser questioned why Veltman would have agreed to a loan which increased the cost of the truck by $10,000 to over $30,000.

“I’m going to suggest to you sir that you had no intentions of paying back that loan,” Moser said to Veltman. “You knew you were going to use this truck in a terrorist attack.”

Veltman denied it, and said he believed he would be able to pay the loan back quickly because college was online and he intended to pick up extra shifts at work.

 

THE APARTMENT

Moser also questioned the state of Veltman’s apartment: the jury has already seen the living quarters were sparse and in disarray.

Moser however noted the bathroom was clean but the living area could have been tidied up quickly if needed.

She accused Veltman of intentionally pulling all the drawers out and leaving important pieces of evidence readily visible to make it easier for police.

“I didn’t stage the apartment,” Veltman told the jury.

Moser noted however that USBs were all left out in the open, with no password protection and all other data but his manifesto was deleted.

She also discussed a piece of paper, in Veltman’s hand-writing which had equations on it, comparing vehicle speeds to projected death, injury or non-injury. It was left on the kitchen table.

 

THE MANIFESTO

The jury learned Veltman read his manifesto one last time before leaving his apartment in downtown London.

"You had firmed up mind. You decided to go out and find Muslims to kill on June 6, 2021," Moser said to Veltman.

"It wasn't a firm plan in no way but I knew it was possible," he told the jury. 

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

Should you wait to buy or sell your home?

The Bank of Canada is expected to announce its key interest rate decision in less than two weeks. Last month, the bank lowered its key interest rate to 4.7 per cent, marking its first rate cut since March 2020.

Stay Connected