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'I admit that it was terrorism': Crown lays out case against man accused in London vehicle attack

Warning: Graphic content

Opening statements are underway in the trial of 22-year-old Nathaniel Veltman, who has been charged with four counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder after a London, Ont. Muslim family was struck by a pick-up truck in June 2021.

In her statement Monday, federal prosecutor Sarah Shaikh presented the jury with the evidence they intend to call.

“He (Veltman) drove his truck directly at them (the Afzaal family),” Shaikh told the jury.

According to Shaikh, Veltman drove his truck “pedal to the metal” that day, saw the family, made a u-turn on Hyde Park Road, accelerated towards them and drove his truck up onto the curb.

Shaikh told the jury some of the family members were thrown into the air as a result of the force of the accident.

The Crown intends to call evidence that shows Veltman left the scene and drove to a nearby mall where he parked beside a London taxi cab driver, and told him to call police.

“It’s me. It was me that did it,” Veltman allegedly told the cab driver. “Tell them I did it and come and arrest me.”

During his police statements, according to Shaikh, Veltman admitted to his actions, saying he went out that day “on purpose” and that he drove into the family “because they were Muslims.”

“I thought I needed to send a strong message,” Veltman allegedly told police saying his actions were motivated by the damage he believed was being caused by “mass immigration.”

“I was planning on killing,” Veltman told police according to Shaikh. “I knew what I did. I don’t regret what I did. I admit that it was terrorism.”


The prosecution's first witness

The first witness to be called at the trial by Shaikh on Monday was an Afzaal family member.

CTV News Windsor has made the decision to not identify him on-air or online out of respect for his family’s privacy.

He told the jury his family was “peace loving,” and that Talat Afzaal had a masters in fine arts and took “good care of herself,” Salman was “hard-working and kind,” his wife Madiha was working towards a PhD at Western University in civil engineering and Yumnah, a “sweet girl” had her life “cut short.”

He testified that he helped his family immigrate to Canada in 2007.


Agreed statement of facts

The Crown presented two agreed statements of facts by all parties.

The first includes that “Nathaniel Veltman struck the (Afzaal) family with his Dodge Ram pickup truck.”

It also outlines how Talat “likely” died on impact, while Salman and Madiha did not have vital signs and were pronounced deceased at hospital, while Yumnah had a pulse and was “breathing on her own” but when her condition deteriorated efforts to resuscitate her were not successful.

In the second, the jury heard details about Veltman’s’ vehicle, including:

  • Five seconds before impact the front tires were turned to the right
  • One second before impact the front tires were turned to the left
  • Five seconds before impact the accelerator was used to 100 per cent capacity
  • The brakes were never depressed

The parties also agreed that one of the victims was thrown in the air after impact which caused a “cloud of dust.”

After the impact, the jury heard Veltman continued to drive along the sidewalk until driving away on Hyde Park Road when he was “excessively speeding.”

The Crown said “many bystanders” witnessed Veltmantruck being driven erratically, speeding, running red lights and weaving in and out of traffic.


Surveillance videos of accident and aftermath

A forensic identification specialist with the London Police Service testified about surveillance videos he seized and edited as part of the investigation.

In them, Veltman’s truck can be seen driven down Hyde Park Road.

The truck leaves the frame and less than a minute later returns, accelerates and approaches the family. They were standing together at the intersection waiting to cross the busy street.

The video has been edited — by the court — to end at the moment of impact. 


The June 2021 attack

On June 6, 2021, five members of the Afzaal family were out for a walk along Hyde Park Rd in west London when they were struck by a pick-up truck.

Four people died, including father Salman Afzaal, 46, mother Madiha, 44, his mother Talat, 74, and his daughter Yumna, 15. 

A young boy, then nine, was also hurt but survived his injuries.

Moments after the crash, London police arrested and charged Veltman. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The crown alleges Veltman's offences are also “acts of terrorism.”

The trial has been moved to Windsor’s superior court and is expected to last between two to three months.

The jury is made up of eight men and six women. Top Stories

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