Warning: This story contains disturbing details.
Photographs taken in Nathaniel Veltman’s studio apartment in London, Ont., after the killing of a Muslim family on June 6, 2021, show a disorganized room with open drawers and clothing strewn about, and blue masking tape over the camera portion of a cellphone and laptop.
The photos, taken six days after the attack on the Afzaal family, were shown to jurors Monday at his murder-terror trial in Ontario Superior Court in Windsor.
“The photos are essentially telling a story. I start far, then I get closer and closer,” London police Det. Const. Richard Veerman testified at the start of the third week of proceedings.
Veerman was the first person in the accused’s apartment — No. 2F, at 34 Covent Market Place — following the attack.
“My task was to photograph, to document the apartment before any police officers got in there,” Veerman said.
Earlier in the trial, the jury heard a video statement from the accused in which he said he was paranoid about being put on a federal government watch list.
Five Afzaal family members were out for a walk when they were attacked. Yumnah Afzaal, 15, her parents, Madiha Salman, 44, and Salman Afzaal, 46, and family matriarch Talat Afzaal, 74, were killed. A boy who was nine years old at the time survived.
Veltman, 22, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He also faces federal terrorism charges because prosecutors allege he was motivated by far-right ideology. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Prosecutors say he set out to kill Muslims that day, and the Afzaal family members were targeted because of their clothing.
Photos of damaged truck also shown in court
According to the photos presented in court, the accused’s small apartment included a front-hall closet, bathroom, main living area, small kitchen nook, bed, desk, round kitchen table and a shelf atop a dresser.
In the kitchen area, one of the cupboard doors was open but there was nothing inside, and the cutlery drawer was open. Also open were most of the dresser drawers, and inside them were pens and pencils, a laptop bag and pieces of paper.
The garbage in the kitchen was overflowing. A round kitchen table had an empty salsa jar on it, as well as a used plate, bowl and cutlery. The bed was unmade and had clothes on top of it. There were also socks and other items of clothing on the floor. Directly beside the bed was a well-worn computer chair and a small desk with a laptop on it.
Earlier on Monday, jurors were shown close-up photographs of the damaged pickup truck driven by Veltman.
They also saw pictures of the intersection of Hyde Park Road and South Carriage Road in London where the truck attack happened.
“You can see blue cones marking a darkened area of the sidewalk,” Det. Const. Chris Thomas, also with London police, testified about the photos.
Thomas is a forensic investigation officer who took pictures ot the intersection as well as in the parking lot of Cherryhill Mall, where the suspect surrendered to police.
The blue cones marked tire marks on the curb, sidewalk and grass where the Afzaal family members were struck.
Clothing lodged in truck hood
When they were hit by the truck, “both Madiha Salman and Talat Afzaal were wearing a traditional Pakistani clothing called a kameez,” prosecutor Sarah Shaikh told the court, a fact that was earlier agreed to by both sides.
DNA that matched Madiha’s DNA was found on the hood of the truck, court heard. She was wearing a pink-coloured kameez and Talat was wearing a green-and-mustard-coloured kameez.
Prosecutors and defence lawyers agree the accused drove the truck and struck the family. They also agree that pieces of Madiha’s and Talat’s clothing were found lodged in the damaged hood of Veltman’s truck. Photos depicting that were shown to jurors on Monday.
They heard evidence about and saw pictures of items found inside the truck, including an airsoft gun that resembled a handgun, a machete, a knife with a serated blade, and the accused’s drivers licence and bank card.