Alek Minassian van attack motivated by fear of new job, court hears

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TORONTO — Notoriety and fear of failing at a new job were the motives behind the van attack on innocent pedestrians on a busy Toronto sidewalk two years ago, court heard Thursday.

That is what Alek Minassian told a psychiatrist about the April 23, 2018 attack, in which 10 people died and 16 others were injured.

In an interview with police shortly after his arrest, Minassian said the attack was in retribution against society after years of rejection by women.

Later he told a different doctor that he wished he had killed more women and was, indeed, a follower of the so-called “incel movement,” which attracts lonely men who hate women because they cannot have sex with them.

Crown attorney John Rinaldi showed court excerpts of various psychiatric reports of Minassian, including one from Dr. John Bradford, a forensic psychiatrist hired by the defence.

Dr. Bradford wrote in his report that Minassian told him the attack was motivated by his “extreme anxiety” over starting a new job, rather than a hatred towards women.

“He maintains his principal motivation is the fear of failing at his job which he was due to start about seven days after the incident,” Bradford wrote.

“He describes his problem relates to extreme anxiety. He describes that he did not want people to think about extreme anxiety and the fear of failing at a job as a reason he did what he did.”