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Accused in fatal London, Ont., truck attack on Muslim family makes brief court appearance

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The London, Ont., man charged with first-degree and attempted murder, and terrorism in the hit-and-run on a Muslim family out for an evening walk earlier this month made a brief virtual court appearance Monday morning. 

Nathaniel Veltman, 20, faces four first-degree murder charges, one attempted murder charge and associated terrorism charges. 

On June 6, the five family members were struck by a black truck. Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their daughter Yumna Afzaal, 15, and Salman’s mother, Talat Afzaal, 74, were killed. The youngest member of the family survived. The nine-year-old has since been released from hospital and is being cared for by extended family. 

Veltman was arrested a short drive from the scene of the crash.

As in his previous court hearings, Veltman appeared via video link from the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre on Monday. The hearing lasted under two minutes, during which a law student told court that the accused was in talks with Toronto lawyer Christopher Hicks. 

The case was put over until June 28 to give the lawyer and Veltman time to speak and agree on a retainer.  

Police say the attack on the Afzaal family was motivated by anti-Muslim hate. 

Last week, federal prosecutors appeared before the court and upgraded Veltman’s charges to include terrorism. 

Under the Criminal Code, terror charges can be laid when prosecutors believe a crime is committed for a political, religious or ideological purpose, for the purpose of intimating the public or a segment of the public. 

Veltman hasn’t had a bail hearing yet or entered a plea. He has indicated he will need to apply for legal aid. 

Nathaniel Veltman, 20, appeared in Ontario Superior Court via video link from the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre on Monday. He’s charged with murder and attempted murder, and terror-related offences. (Sketch by Lauren Foster-MacLeod)

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