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London attack: the accused describes his mother as a 'fanatic nun' | Accused of attack on London Muslim family stands trial

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Nathaniel Veltman was the first witness called to the stand by the defense at his murder trial.

  • Katherine Brulotte (View profile)Katherine Brulotte

Nathaniel Veltman takes the witness stand in his trial in Windsor.

He is the first witness called to the stand by the defense.

He told jurors that he was isolated from anyone who did not share his mother's fundamentalist and Calvinist Christian views during his childhood.

He was homeschooled from K-11. The teaching included many Bible study sessions, he said.

Accused in attack on London Muslim family stands trial

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Accused in attack on Muslim family of London stands trial

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He and his twin sister are the eldest of a family of six children. His mother was a religious fanatic and very strict, the accused testified. He claims to have had very limited social contact and only with other children whose parents shared his religious beliefs.

His mother allegedly claimed the school was a place where the government brainwashed people into believing in evolution, Mr. Veltman said. He remembers making fun of the children who had to go to school even though he secretly envied them.

She had an extreme fear of secular influence, the accused claims.

The family reportedly even avoided attending church for a time, concerned about the potentially negative influence of other members of the community, he adds.

The man, now 22, claims he was spanked, sometimes several times a day as a disciplinary measure when he used forbidden words or seemed to show, even unintentionally, animosity towards his mother. These physical punishments intensified if he cried, he says.

In his testimony, the accused also claims to have developed a fear of hell when his mother showed him images of people burning in flames or undergoing torture by fire. According to her memories, she told him that this is what happens to people who are not good Christians.

This fear would have pushed him to hide his desire to go to school as well as the anger that was growing within him.

The man of 22 years old is accused of the premeditated murder in terrorist circumstances of four members of the Afzaal family in 2021 and attempted murder.

Earlier Thursday morning, Attorney Christopher Hicks began the defense presentation by addressing the jurors.

He argued that the duty of the jury is to reach conclusions after hearing all of the evidence, emphasizing that the evidence presented by the Crown in recent weeks is only part of that evidence and that they are not, at this point, in a position to make a decision.

In these opening remarks, he also insisted that the Crown has the burden of proving each element of the accusations made. He also argued that, according to the defense, the intention to commit murder was not clearly established. He also called into question the preparation and planning of the accused.

Mr. Hicks also told jurors that a psychiatrist specializing in forensic medicine, Dr. Julien Gauger, would be called to testify for the defense.

The lawyer announced that Dr. Gauger would be able to clarify the psychological state of the accused and could testify, among other things, about the potential effects of psychedelic substances on a person who consumes them.

During the presentation of evidence, jurors heard that the defendant had consumed psilocybin, a substance commonly known as magic mushrooms, two days before the events which led to these accusations.

  • Katherine Brulotte (View profile)Katherine BrulotteFollow
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116