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Trio jailed for shooting UK girl Thusha

11:48 Fri Apr 20 2012
AAP

Three men have been jailed for life for a gang-related shooting in London that left a five-year-old girl paralysed, with the judge describing their crime as "an attack on society itself".

Nathaniel Grant, Anthony McCalla and Kazeem Kolawole were given life sentences at the Old Bailey for shooting Thusha Kamaleswaran at her aunt's south London shop in March 2011.

They were hunting for a rival gang member when Grant opened fire into the store, hitting shopper Roshan Selvakumar in the face and Thusha in the chest.

Passing sentence on Thursday, Judge Martin Stephens QC told them: "Not one of you has, in my judgment, shown a sliver of remorse."

He went on: "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."

The trio were found guilty last month of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Thusha and Selvakumar, 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.

The judge said Kolawole, 19, of Kennington, southeast London; McCalla, 20, of Streatham, south London; and Grant, 21, of Camberwell, southeast London had gone out with a "determined, premeditated intention to kill" that day.

The judge said the trio 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."

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.

In a statement released through the police, Thusha's parents Jeyakumar Ghanasekaram and his wife Sharmila Kamaleswaran thanked emergency services for saving their daughter's life.

"We are very happy justice has been done," they said.

In a victim impact statement, Mrs Kamaleswaran said she had suffered severe insomnia since the shooting.

"To see her lying in a hospital bed just took all of my heart away. My other children were crying. They couldn't understand why this had happened. I can not think of a worse time in my life," she said, retelling the aftermath of the attack.

"It is so difficult now to see that her condition has brought all her dreams of being an aspiring dancer and musician to a shattering end and that all her practice of both from a young age has all been in vain.

"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, Thusha 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."