Divorce documents describe accused London killer as ‘angry’ and ‘combative’ years before attack
|Toronto Star 10 Jun 2021 at 19:06|
The London man accused of murdering four members of a Muslim family in a hate-motivated vehicle attack is described as angry and combative in documents filed in his parents’ recent divorce, court records show.
The documents, filed in the London courthouse between 2016 and 2018, shed new light on the background of the 20-year-old man — the eldest son of six kids from Strathroy, Ont. — accused of purposely running down a family Sunday in an attack that has sent waves of grief across Canada.
They do not, however, offer any clear insights into why Nathaniel (Nate) Veltman allegedly targeted Muslim victims in what police have called a hate-motivated attack on a family out for a Sunday stroll. Investigators have not released information on why they believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith.
Veltman’s father, Mark Veltman, issued a statement to media Thursday calling his son’s alleged actions “a senseless act,” saying he had no words to adequately express his sorrow for victims of an “unspeakable crime.”
The records filed in the divorce between Mark and Alysia Veltman include an order forbidding Nathaniel, who has a twin sister and four younger siblings, from spending unsupervised time with his brothers and sisters.
Over the course of his parents’ separation, Nathaniel in particular developed a “great deal of animosity” towards his mother, the documents state. She described her son as “combative and argumentative.”
“He will follow me around the house and I have to lock myself in the bedroom,” Alysia wrote in a December 2016 affidavit.
“Nathan has been very aggressive and angry with me and each time that he spends with his father brings on more hostility,” the affidavit continues.
Veltman made a Thursday on four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He is accused of running down Salman Afzaal, his wife Madiha, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna, their nine-year-old son Fayez and grandmother Talat Afzaal while the family was on an evening walk on Sunday. Only Fayez survived.
London police have said Veltman targeted the family based on their faith, based on evidence obtained early on in the investigation.
At the time of the attack, Veltman was a student at Fanshawe College and lived in a London apartment building nearby. He worked at an egg farm in his hometown of Strathroy, Ont., a short drive from the home where he grew up. He was home-schooled for much of his childhood.
Mark Veltman stated in an affidavit that there were “anger” issues between then-15-year-old Nathaniel and his mother. He claimed this was because she was preventing Nathaniel from contacting him during the separation when she had full custody of all the children.
“Unfortunately, Nathaniel’s frustrations with (his mother) have become so significant that Nathaniel has retained his own lawyer and has voluntarily removed himself from (her) parental control. As of this date, I understand that Nathaniel is living with friends,” he said in the affidavit.
In her affidavit, filed in December 2016, Alysia said the separation and comments made to Nathan by his father have caused animosity between her and her eldest son.
“Nathan recently stated to me that I should no longer homeschool his siblings so I can get a job and support myself and ‘stop using his dad’s money.’ These types of comments come from Nathan daily and are clearly not something he would come up with on his own,” reads the document.
Then 15 years old, Nathaniel began saying he wanted to move out, she said.
According to the court records, he “withdrew from parental control” on Jan. 26, 2017, a month after he turned 16, in a letter from his lawyer. He was attending public high school in Strathroy at the time .
Alysia was a stay-at-home parent, his father Mark worked at the Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology, according to the court records.
According to documents filed by his parents and dated August 2018, Nathaniel was diagnosed with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and was prescribed an antidepressant and attending counselling.
According to the documents, which included the terms of the couple’s separation, Nathaniel “will not be unsupervised with any of the children,” and was “not to use his phone in inappropriate ways” or to “speak negatively to the other children about their mother.”