The 22-year-old ran over and killed 4 family members in 2021, leaving nine-year-old boy orphaned.
A Canadian man impressed by white nationalist beliefs has been discovered responsible of murdering 4 members of a Muslim household by working them over with a pick-up truck in an assault that despatched waves of shock, grief and concern throughout the nation and spurred calls to deal with Islamophobia.
On Thursday, 22-year-old Nathaniel Veltman, who had railed towards immigration and Islam, was convicted of attacking the household within the Ontario city of London in June 2021.
“He was looking for Muslims to kill,” prosecutor Fraser Ball mentioned in closing arguments, including that Veltman had donned physique armour and a shirt bearing a crusader emblem.
Salman Afzaal, 46; his spouse, Madiha Salman, 44; their daughter Yumnah, 15; and Afzaal’s mom, Talat, 74, had been killed. The couple’s nine-year-old son suffered severe accidents however survived. The household, initially from Pakistan, had been out for a stroll close to their dwelling.
Prosecutors referred to as the assault an act of “terrorism”, and Veltman, convicted on 4 counts of first-degree homicide and one in every of tried homicide, faces life imprisonment with no probability for parole for 25 years.
Through the 10-week trial, the jury heard that Veltman had authored a far-right screed during which he described his hatred of Islam and opposition to mass immigration and multiculturalism.
After driving immediately into the household, Veltman gave himself as much as the police and mentioned he had wished to “ship a powerful message” towards Muslim immigration.
Within the manifesto, Veltman wrote, “I’m a white nationalist,” and mentioned white individuals had been “going through genocide”. Prosecutors mentioned he additionally repeatedly watched the video of a mass capturing by a white supremacist in New Zealand that killed 51 individuals.
For members of Canada’s vibrant Muslim group, Ball mentioned, that the message was terrifyingly clear: “Go away this nation otherwise you and your family members could possibly be subsequent.”
The assault, which left three generations of the household useless and items of the victims’ clothes caught to the entrance of Veltman’s truck, was the deadliest towards Canada’s Muslim group since 2017 when a person, who had consumed far-right anti-Muslim materials, gunned down six individuals in a Quebec Metropolis mosque.
The defence argued that Veltman suffered from quite a few psychological well being points and had requested that his fees be downgraded to manslaughter.
A sentencing listening to was scheduled for December 1.
“Whereas this represents an essential step in direction of closure for the Muslim group, and our metropolis at giant, it’s certainly not the tip of that journey,” London Mayor Josh Morgan mentioned in a social media submit on Thursday.
The Nationwide Council of Canadian Muslims posted on X that it was “relieved that justice has been served”, including, “Now we have to replicate deeply on the violent Islamophobia that has gripped our nation.”
We’re relieved to see that the person who killed 4 members of #OurLondonFamily has been convicted on all counts.
We’re relieved that justice has been served.
This can be a time for reflection and solidarity. With the household. With the group in London, Ontario.
Now we have to… pic.twitter.com/a8woB2EDK1
— NCCM (@nccm) November 16, 2023