Accused in fatal attack on Muslim family to return to court next week

A memorial continues to grow at the corner of Hyde Park and South Carriage roads in honour of a Muslim family who was run down Sunday night, June 8, 2021. Photo by Blair Henatyzen.

The 20-year-old man accused of killing four members of a Muslim family and injuring a fifth in what police have called a premeditated, deliberate attack will return to London court next week.

Nathaniel Veltman appeared in court Thursday via video link from the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre. The appearance lasted only five minutes. Veltman was dressed in an orange t-shirt and pants – the standard inmate attire – and wore a light blue face mask. His hands were clasped in front of him.

While he said very little beyond his name, date of birth, and the name of the London criminal defence lawyer he has contacted, he spoke both calmly and clearly.

“Nate Veltman. December 20, 2000. His name is Damon. I don’t remember his last name. Damon Hardy, I believe it is,” Veltman told the court.

It was determined the Hardy and Associates Criminal Law Firm had not yet been fully retained and that Veltman would need to apply for legal aid.

It was initially asked that the case be adjourned for one week while Veltman retains counsel. However at the request of the two Crown attorneys assigned to the case, it was put over to Monday.

Assistant Crown attorney Amir Hage stated disclosure is being prepared and will be sent on once Veltman fully retains legal counsel.

A publication ban on the evidence presented in the case has been put in place.

Veltman is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. The charges against him were laid on Monday, one day after the family of five were run down by a pickup truck while out for an evening walk in northwest London.

Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal,and Salman Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother Talat Afzaal were killed. Nine-year-old Fayez Salman suffered serious injuries, but survived the collision.

When arrested roughly seven kilometers from the collision scene, the suspect was alleged to be wearing body-armour-style clothing. London police have said there is evidence the attack was planned, premeditated, and motivated by hate.

A funeral for the victims has been set for Saturday. Private visitations will be held at O’Neil Funeral Home in the morning before the service at the London Islamic Centre in the afternoon. To show support for the family, members of the public are encouraged to line the funeral procession route starting at 1 p.m.