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Life sentence for gang who shot five-year-old Thusha
12:55pm Thursday 19th April 2012 in North of England news
Three men were jailed for life today for a gang-related shooting that left a five-year-old girl paralysed.
Nathaniel Grant, Anthony McCalla and Kazeem Kolawole were hunting down a rival gang member when they shot Thusha Kamaleswaran at her aunt’s south London shop in March last year.
They were found guilty last month of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Thusha and shopper Roshan Selvakumar, who was shot in the face, as well as attempted murder of their intended victim Roshaun Bryan.
Grant will serve a minimum of 17 years, and Kolawole and McCalla at least 14 years.
Kolawole, 19, of Kennington, south east London; McCalla, 20, of Streatham, south London; and Grant, 21, of Camberwell, south east London, were told their crimes were “of the utmost gravity”.
Judge Martin Stephens QC said: “Much of what you did was captured on CCTV and has been shown on television screens across the land.
”One can only imagine the effect on the public when they saw what you had done.”
He said the trio had gone out with a “determined, premeditated intention to kill” that day.
Judge Stephens continued: “Mr Selvakumar was hit in the head but miraculously survived with a piece of bullet remaining in his head.
”Five-year-old Thusha, who was dancing around with her family in the shop, was hit in the body. Only the skill and devotion of the medical teams who became involved saved her life but she remains paralysed below her chest and this condition is permanent.
”This simple but devastating statement of the essential facts of the case illustrate the gravity of these offences, riddled as they are with aggravating factors.”
Judge Stephens told the trio: “Not one of you has, in my judgment, shown a sliver of remorse.”
Grant has previous convictions for robbery and possession of an offensive weapon, Kolawole for affray, and McCalla for robbery, affray, possessing an offensive weapon with intent and violent disorder.
The judge said they posed “a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm in the future”.
He said: “You, Grant, were the gunman and the other two your fully supportive lieutenants backing up all your actions to the hilt and giving you the support and encouragement to carry out these terrible deeds.
”In my judgment, this is an exceptional case of the utmost gravity.
”Shooting into a shop, a confined space where it was known there were people present, is an attack on society itself by men who saw themselves as outside the law and above the law.”
Judge Stephens said the convictions would not have been possible without CCTV, and that he hoped Thusha could go on to lead as full a life as possible.
The trio cycled up to Stockwell Food and Wine on March 29 last year and Grant opened fire into the shop, hitting Mr Selvakumar and Thusha.
Jurors were told he would have been able to see the girl as he fired his second shot.
The three men were members of the Brixton-based OC (Organised Criminals) gang, and were on the hunt for a member of their bitter rivals ABM (All Bout Money).
Thusha was hit in the chest and the bullet passed through the seventh vertebra of her spine.
She went into cardiac arrest twice and had to undergo emergency surgery in the shop and at hospital, and is now permanently paralysed.
Mr Selvakumar has bullet fragments lodged in his head that cannot safely be removed.
After the verdicts last month, Thusha, now six, told the Daily Mail: “I worry that someone will try to hurt me again.”
Her family has been left battling debt and mother Sharmila Kamaleswaran is said to have suffered insomnia and depression.
She said in a victim impact statement that seeing her daughter, who dreamed of being a dancer, in a hospital bed “took my heart away”.
Speaking outside court, Detective Superintendent Gordon Allison said the only time the men had apologised or shown any remorse was when they were seeking to reduce their prison sentences.
He said: “To the gang members in London: Trident gang command is here. Should you wish to leave gangs, we will engage with you and help you.
”If you do not want to leave gangs and you want to go on with your criminality, we will come after you.”