Three men jailed for shooting of five-year-old girl

19 April 2012

Thusha Kamaleswaran

Three men convicted following an incident in which five-year-old Thusha Kamaleswaran was shot have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Judge ordered that Nathaniel Grant serve a minimum of 17 years; Anthony McCalla and Kazeem Kolawole will serve a minimum of 14 years before they are eligible for parole.

"They will have many years in prison to reflect on the damage they caused."

Earlier this month McCalla, Kolawole and Grant were convicted of two counts of GBH with intent, one count of attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life

Thusha, just five years old at the time and 35-year-old Roshan Selvakumar - who was also shot during the incident at the Stockwell Food and Wine Store on 29 March 2011 - were the innocent victims of a gang feud.

Detectives from Trident seized approximately 700 hours of CCTV from 150 cameras as part of their investigation.

One officer, Detective Constable Richard Williamson painstakingly watched each portion of CCTV over 100 times in order to present to the jury detailed evidence of the defendants clothing and movements in the run-up to the day of the shooting, the day itself and the day after.

So touched by Thusha, the detectives who investigated the case will take on the Three Peaks Challenge on Saturday 22 September. The team which includes investigating officer DI Jim Redmond, CCTV officer DC Rich Williams, Family Liasion Officer DC John Codd, Case Officer DS Mark Leach and typist Chris Andreou 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 over £130,000

Detective Inspector Jim Redmond, said: "The image of her dancing happily and then lying lifeless made us want to help. Seeing what Thusha and her family have gone though just made us want to do something for her. She was a totally innocent victim. Her age and the nature of her injuries and the impact this has had on her family really made this different from other cases we've dealt with. She is such a brave little girl. She is always smiling and is so positive even though she is in constant pain."

An account named 'Thusha Appeal Fund' has been opened at the HSBC Bank, 5 Wimbledon Hill Road, London SW19 7NF for donations. The account number is: 12239108 and the sort code: 40-07-30.

At about 20:30hrs on the night Thusha and Roshan were shot; witnesses saw a group of young men firing a gun at a tree on Hammelton Green, very close to Foxley Square. Detectives believe this was a test firing of the weapon which was later used at Stockwell Food and Wine.

Grant and Kolawole were captured on CCTV walking from the Green shortly after the test fire and back to Foxley Square.

At 20:54hrs, they set out on bicycles, McCalla riding a distinctive lady's bicycle but before they left the square they went into some bushes where it is believed they collected the gun before continuing in the general direction of Stockwell Road.

On route they saw a member of a rival gang, causing him (and another) to run. Grant, McCalla and Kolawole gave chase on their bicycles and the two men sought refuge in the Stockwell Food and Wine Store, which at the time was owned by Thusha's uncle.

As the men circled outside the shop with a loaded gun, those inside including Thusha, who had been happily playing in one of the aisles, and Roshan who was purchasing some supplies were unaware of the danger they faced.

At 21:07hrs, Grant fired two shots through the open door of the store. The first hit Roshan in the face and the second hit Thusha in the chest causing her to fall the floor.

Thusha's heart stopped twice on the night she was shot and emergency surgery was performed in the street and also in hospital in order to save her life. Unfortunately her injuries have left her permanently paralysed and she remains under the care of a hospital to this day. Roshan Selvakumar still has fragments of bullets inside his head as they cannot be safely removed.

The three men fled. McCalla and Grant went back to Foxley Square, ditching their bikes and some items of clothing. Kolawole went home and is captured on CCTV wearing the same clothes and sweating profusely.

Telephone evidence showed Grant spent much of the hours following the shooting in contact with a solicitor and Kolawole was captured on CCTV the following day dumping the grey top he was wearing on the night of the shooting in a nearby dustbin.

The gun used has never been recovered but forensic examination of the bullets and gun shot residue suggests it was a 0.22 calibre weapon.

Just two days after the shooting detectives from Trident had identified McCalla and he became the first of the three to be arrested on 31 March 2011. Kolawole was arrested on 3 April 2011 and Grant on 14 April 2011. All three refused to answer any questions and gave no comment police interviews.

Detective Superintendent Gordon Allison, 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.

"In February the MPS launched the Trident Gang Command and with this there has been a change in how we tackle gang crime in London.

"There are now a thousand dedicated officers working on a new approach to tackling gang violence in London and since over 500 arrests have been made.

"We need to the help of London's communities - it is only with their support that we the police can bring offenders to justice and protect people.

"I would like to pay tribute to the professionalism of the police officers who worked tirelessly and with the utmost professionalism to piece together all the evidence needed to bring this case to the Crown Prosecution Service, under what was undoubtedly difficult and at times distressing circumstances.

"I am also immensely proud that they have already managed to raise over £130,000 for Thusha and would like to thank members of the public to helped them to achieve this and everybody who has been kind enough to publicise the Three Peaks Challenge they will be taking on in September to raise even more for Thusha."