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Accused in London, Ont. attack has mental health issues, expert tells trial

A forensic psychiatrist is testifying that a man accused of killing four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont., was suffering from mental health issues at the time of the attack that might have impacted his ability to plan his actions.

Defence witness Dr. Julian Gojer says his report has concluded that Nathaniel Veltman doesn’t qualify to be considered not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder, despite having mental health issues.

Gojer says he diagnosed Veltman with severe depression, autism spectrum disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other conditions that may have impacted his ability to plan his actions and understand their consequences.

Veltman, 22, is accused of deliberately hitting the Afzaal family with his truck on June 6, 2021, while they were out for a walk in London. Prosecutors have alleged his actions amount to an act of terrorism.

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He has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Salman Afzaal, 46; his 44-year-old wife, Madiha Salman; their 15-year-old daughter, Yumna; and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, were killed in the attack, while the couple’s nine-year-old son was seriously hurt but survived.

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