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COVID, Muslim conspiracy theories ‘warp my view of the world,’ accused killer tells terrorism trial

Nathaniel Veltman is accused of intentionally hitting the Afzaal household together with his truck in June 2021 whereas they had been out for a stroll in London, Ont., killing 4 and injuring one

The person accused of killing 4 members of a Muslim household in an alleged act of terrorism advised a jury Friday that his thoughts was “corrupted” by on-line conspiracy theories and he finally developed a want to interact in an act of violence.

In his second day of testimony, Nathaniel Veltman advised court docket that as his psychological state deteriorated in the course of the pandemic, he started consuming extra on-line content material that included unfounded conspiracies about COVID-19 and Muslims.

“This content material began to warp my view of the world,” he stated. “It was beginning to trigger this seething anger.”

The 22-year-old stated he was at all times drawn to “no matter was fringe and conspiracy associated,” however didn’t initially determine with a variety of the content material he was viewing.

He stated he tried to dam among the web sites he was visiting with an app initially supposed to dam entry to pornography and even eliminated or destroyed a few of his digital gadgets, however he at all times went again to the disturbing content material and have become “addicted” to it.

“Slowly I grew to become desensitized to the offensive materials,” he testified. He stated that materials included a video made by the gunman accountable for the 2019 New Zealand mass killings at two mosques.

“My thoughts was changing into corrupted.”

On the stand within the Windsor, Ont., courtroom the place the trial is happening, Veltman has been detailing what he described as a strategy of psychological decline that began when he started spending a variety of time on the web within the early months of the pandemic as his London, Ont., school cancelled in-person courses.

He had earlier described a sample of paranoia and obsessive ideas on subjects resembling faith and pornography, which dated again to what he stated was a troubled childhood and typically intensified when he consumed medicine and alcohol.

As time went on and after two aborted makes an attempt to finish his life in March 2021, Veltman stated he started intentionally looking for out content material he’d beforehand tried to withstand.

“I now not tried to keep away from the issues that I knew triggered one thing in me. I felt I had nothing to lose,” he stated.

Veltman stated his suicidal ideation “abruptly morphed into one thing else.”

“(I had) want to interact in an act of violence and avenge this stuff that I used to be seeing,” he stated, referring to extreme-right web sites carrying baseless conspiracy theories about Muslims.

Veltman is accused of intentionally hitting the Afzaal household together with his truck in June 2021 whereas they had been out for a stroll in London, Ont.

Salman Afzaal, 46; his 44-year-old spouse, Madiha Salman; their 15-year-old daughter, Yumna; and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, had been killed within the assault, whereas the couple’s nine-year-old son was severely harm however survived.

Veltman has pleaded not responsible to 4 counts of first-degree homicide and one rely of tried homicide.

Jurors have beforehand seen video of Veltman telling a detective that his assault had been motivated by white nationalist beliefs. The Crown has argued that Veltman deliberate an assault for 3 months earlier than driving his Dodge Ram truck immediately on the Afzaal household.

Below questioning from his lawyer Christopher Hicks, Veltman stated that he drove his truck to Clinton, Ont., to will get its home windows tinted a number of days earlier than he was arrested. He beforehand testified that he needed the home windows darkened for privateness.

Veltman stated he walked across the city as he waited for the work on his car to be achieved, stumbled upon a radio tower and determined to climb it. As he climbed greater, Veltman stated he began having ideas of letting go.

“I believed I wasn’t suicidal anymore,” he testified. “It was scaring me.”

Veltman additionally advised the jury Friday about two cases through which he took psilocybin, or magic mushrooms.

He stated he took a “massive” quantity of magic mushrooms in April 2020 that made him hear “demonic voices” and writhe on the ground.

“I forgot who I used to be, I forgot the place I lived, I forgot what planet I used to be on … it was like a whole reminiscence wipe,” he testified.

Veltman stated he additionally consumed magic mushrooms on June 5, 2021, a day after his grandmother had died and he had gone to see her physique.

Veltman stated he was distraught over the dying of the lady he thought of his “substitute” mom and pressured a pal to offer him extra of the medicine than the pal thought was secure for him to devour. He stated he sought the psychedelics as a result of he was very disturbed on the time.

“I used to be determined to flee from this hell that I used to be dwelling in my thoughts,” he advised the court docket.

The assault on the Afzaal household occurred on June 6, 2021.

Veltman advised the jury on Thursday that he had a “fundamentalist” Christian upbringing marked by common punishments from his mom, which included spankings.

He stated he was homeschooled till Grade 11 and the isolation from the broader group made him socially awkward and drawn to “outcasts” and “dangerous” crowds later in life.

Veltman’s case is the primary the place Canada’s terrorism legal guidelines are being put earlier than a jury in a first-degree homicide trial.

The trial is about to renew Monday.

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