Canadian white nationalist who killed Muslim family gets life sentence

Nathaniel Veltman ran over five members of a family of Pakistan origin in Ontario, in 2021, killing four of them

By Reuters

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Family and friends of the Afzaal family exit the Superior Court of Justice after a verdict in the Nathaniel Veltman murder trial. — AP file
Family and friends of the Afzaal family exit the Superior Court of Justice after a verdict in the Nathaniel Veltman murder trial. — AP file

Published: Thu 22 Feb 2024, 9:35 PM

Last updated: Thu 22 Feb 2024, 9:36 PM

A Canadian white nationalist who deliberately ran over and killed four members of a Muslim family in 2021 was given a life sentence on Thursday with no chance of parole for 25 years, domestic media reported.

Nathaniel Veltman, 23, had been found guilty of first-degree murder last November for an attack that shocked Canada. He showed little reaction to the decision, the London Free Press newspaper reported.


The judge in the case said Veltman's attack represented an act of terrorism, the first time that the term has been used to describe white nationalist violence.

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Veltman, driving a pick-up truck, ran over five members of the Afzaal family, originally from Pakistan, in the Ontario town of London when they were out for an evening walk in June 2021.

The victims were Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumnah, and Afzaal's 74-year-old mother Talat.

The couple's nine-year-old son suffered serious injuries. Shortly after the assault, Veltman said: "I did it. I killed those people."

Veltman pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder. His defence, citing what it called Veltman's mental challenges, said the actions amounted to a lesser charge of manslaughter.

"I find the offender's actions constitute terrorist activity," the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation cited Justice Renee Pomerance as saying as she pronounced her sentence.

It was the worst attack against Canadian Muslims since a man gunned down six members of a Quebec City mosque in 2017.

Prosecutors noted Veltman had written a manifesto entitled "A White Awakening" in which he outlined hatred of Islam and opposition to mass immigration and multiculturalism.


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