Nfld. & Labrador

Graham Veitch thought killing David Collins 'right thing to do,' psychiatrist says

Dr. Nazir Ladha, who interviewed the accused and reviewed statements from several family members, police and acquaintances, said Veitch exhibits classic symptoms of schizophrenia. 

Accused had delusions about his mother's partner and told doctor he feared for his family's safety

Graham Veitch is charged with second-degree murder in the death of David Collins. (Bailey White/CBC)

A forensic psychiatrist who interviewed Graham Veitch told a St. John's courtroom the 21-year-old killed David Collins because he believed it was the right thing to do. 

Dr. Nazir Ladha, who interviewed the accused and reviewed statements from several family members, police, and acquaintances, said Veitch exhibits classic symptoms of schizophrenia. 

"Graham did not appreciate the nature and consequences of his actions," the psychiatrist said in Supreme Court on Friday. 

Veitch is facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of Collins, his mother's partner. 

An agreed statement of facts entered into evidence in March describes how Veitch killed Collins, 55, a well-liked pharmacist, after an otherwise typical evening at the family home on Cadigan's Road in Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove.

Veitch was 18 years old on Dec. 18, 2016, when he ate dinner with his mother, Joan Veitch, and Collins. 

Veitch stands before Justice Sandra Chaytor in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court on Friday. (Bailey White/CBC)

He then went upstairs, while his mother and Collins sat down in the living room. A short time later, Veitch came back downstairs, walked up behind a seated Collins and struck him repeatedly with a hammer.

Ladha was called to testify by Veitch's lawyers, who argue he is not criminally responsible due to mental disorder.

Veitch, who has been in custody since the killing, had delusions about Collins, Dr. Ladha told the court. 

During their interview, the doctor said, Veitch told him he thought Collins would kill him, and that his mother and brother were also in danger. Veitch told the doctor he was receiving messages from demons and that he was "haunted" by Collins.

Other witnesses told police Collins was a passive person who was easy to get along with, but Veitch reported feeling so threatened that he decided to kill his mother's partner.

Veitch speaks with his lawyer, Mark Gruchy, at Supreme Court. Gruchy and his colleague Jason Edwards intend to prove Veitch is not guilty by reason of mental disorder. (Bailey White/CBC)

"In one sense it a snap decision," Ladha said. However, he added, "his perception of Dave had been brewing over time."

Ladha said any number of Veitch's symptoms could be explained by other factors, but taken together and in context demonstrated a clear syndrome.

 
Collins, 55, was in a relationship with Veitch's mother, Joan Veitch. (Facebook)

"So, yes, this is schizophrenia."

Veitch is also accused of assaulting his mother, assaulting a police officer, stealing a car and evading police in the aftermath of the killing.

His trial continues May 27.

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