Men guilty over Thusha Kamaleswaran shop shooting
- 26 March 2012
- From the section London
Three men have been found guilty over a shooting in a south London shop which left a five-year-old girl paralysed.
Thusha Kamaleswaran was shot in the chest and Roshan Selvakumar, 35, was shot in the face at Stockwell Food and Wine shop in Brixton last March.
Nathaniel Grant, Kazeem Kolawole and Anthony McCalla were found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent.
They were also convicted at the Old Bailey of attempting to murder Roshaun Bryan.
The court heard the gunmen were trying to shoot Mr Bryan, a suspected rival gang member, when Thusha and Mr Selvakumar got caught in the crossfire.
The pair were the innocent victims of a gang feud.
Prosecutor Edward Brown QC told jurors: "The reality of this shooting may be that, whilst there was an intention to kill the suspected rival gang member, the gunman and his accomplices couldn't have cared less if someone else was shot too."
Thusha's heart stopped twice before doctors were able to save her.
She has spent most of the last year in hospital and doctors say she will never walk again.
Roshan Selvakumar has been left with bullet fragments permanently lodged in his head and the court heard if the bullet had been slightly to one side, he would have died.
Thusha's mother Sharmila Kamaleswaran wept as a victim impact statement she had written was read to the court.
It stated how the shock of seeing her daughter on a hospital bed "took my heart away".
The statement went on: "She says the impact of this incident remains unbearable to the family.
"She describes how Thusha was before, always happy and smiling. A child hopping around like a rabbit now paralysed."
Speaking after the verdict, Daren Streeter, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This case is a shocking example of how gun crime can devastate innocent people's lives.
"The three men showed a complete disregard for public safety. They left a young girl seriously injured."
He continued: "We had to show the jury some harrowing footage of the incident and I thank them for all their care and attention."
The jury did not know Grant, 21, had been acquitted of a murder three months previously.
In August 2008, innocent student Ryan Bravo, 18, was gunned down as he bought milk in a Costcutters shop in Walworth, south London.
Grant, of Camberwell, Kolawole, 19, of Kennington, and McCalla, 20, of Streatham, will be sentenced on 19 April at the Old Bailey.
Detectives watched approximately 700 hours of CCTV from 150 cameras as part of their investigation.
It helped them show evidence of the defendants' clothing and movements in the run-up to the day of the shooting, the day itself and the day after.
There was footage of McCalla on his bike minutes before the incident mimicking a ride-by shooting.
Det Supt Gordon Allison said: "This was a difficult and distressing case to investigate bearing in mind Thusha was just five years old - a baby.
"Roshan Selakumar also suffered catastrophic injuries when he was shot in the face.
"Both he and Thusha were innocent victims caught up in McCalla, Grant and Kolawole's intent on committing violence that night."
Det Supt Allison added: "The shooting caused widespread shock and disbelief but they have never shown any remorse for their actions."
Officers who worked on the case were so moved by Thusha's plight that they are taking on the Three Peaks charity challenge to raise money for her care.
Between 22 and 23 September, they will attempt to climb Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in Cumbria and Mount Snowdon in Wales within 24 hours.
They are asking the public to donate to a fund they have established for her.