June 19 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Three men have been jailed for life for shooting a five-year-old Hainault schoolgirl and leaving her permanently paralysed.
Nathaniel Grant, Anthony McCalla and Kazeem Kolawole appeared at the Old Bailey today for sentencing.
Thusha Kamaleswaran, of Tomswood Hill, was gunned down in her aunt’s shop Stockwell Food and Wine in March last year.
Shopper Roshan Selvakumar was also injured in the gang-related shooting.
Grant, McCalla and Kolawole were found guilty of two counts of grievous bodily harm with intent, one count of attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Grant will serve a minimum of 17 years, and Kolawole and McCalla at least 14 years.
Thusha, who had attended Fairlop Primary School, Colvin Gardens, Hainault was seen in CCTV footage dancing in the shop before being hit by a bullet.
She went into cardiac arrest twice and underwent emergency surgery.
She spent months in hospital and is paralysed below the chest.
Det Supt Gordon Allison, of Trident, said: “The images of Thusha dancing happily in the Stockwell Food and Wine are images that many of us will struggle to erase from our memories.
“Today, McCalla, Kolawole and Grant will have many years in prison to reflect on the damage they caused to an innocent five year old girl and her family but also Roshan and the community that is London as a whole.”
The detectives who investigated the case will take on the Three Peaks Challenge on Saturday September 22.
The team will attempt to climb Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Mount Snowden in Wales within 24 hours for Thusha and the vital care and equipment she now requires. They have already raised more than £130,000
In a statement Thusha’s mother Sharmilla Kamaleswaran said: “I cannot begin to explain the shock that I felt at the time of the shooting. We were at the shop as a family enjoying seeing relatives.
“The children were happy, running up and down the shop, playing and dancing. Seconds later I had to see Thusha lying on the floor, crying, telling me she couldn’t feel her legs. The whole incident was a blur. Everyone was screaming.
“The paramedics were telling us that Thusa had heart failure. We did not know if she would survive. We were later told she had died twice in her journey to the hospital.”
She added: ““It is hard for all at home to see an innocent child who had been hopping around like a little rabbit, playing with her siblings and friends now paralysed for life.
“Whilst tears roll from her eyes, Thusa will often mournfully say: ‘I miss my school friends and teachers terribly and I now have to live like this for the rest of my life’.”