Three men have been found guilty of a gangland shooting in a south London shop that left a five-year-old girl paralysed for life.
Nathaniel Grant was convicted alongside Kazeem Kolawole and Anthony McCalla for the shocking incident which means Thusha Kamaleswaran will never walk again.
Grant – who it can now be disclosed was acquitted over a similar shooting just three months earlier that left a teenager dead – fired twice into the Stockwell Food and Wine convenience shop owned by the little girl’s aunt and uncle.
Miss Kamaleswaran was hit in the chest by a bullet that shattered part of her spine before exiting her body, causing her heart to stop twice before she arrived at hospital. Doctors said the incident means she will be wheelchair-bound for the rest of her life, ending her dreams of becoming a dancer.
The girl’s mother, Sharmila Kamaleswaran, cried as her witness statement was read to jurors at the Old Bailey, describing Thusha as “happy and smiling”, a “child hopping around like a rabbit now paralysed”.
The mother-of-three said it had been an “unbearable” tragedy for her family, and that seeing Thusha in her hospital bed “took my heart away”. The court was shown CCTV footage of the attack, which also injured shopper Roshan Selvakumar, 35. Fragments of a bullet are now permanently embedded in his face.
The 21-year-old Grant, together with Kolawole, 19, and McCalla, 20, were members of the OC (Organised Crime) gang, which later came to be known as GAS (Guns and Shanks). Despite having already been tried for the 2008 murder of Ryan Bravo, 18, who was shot and killed in a Costcutter store in another part of south London, Grant plotted with his two partners to kill Roshaun Bryan, alleged to be a member of their rival south London gang ABM (All Bout Money).
Having test fired their gun shortly beforehand in a nearby park, they then rode to the shop on their bikes. As they approached they saw someone run inside, leading Grant to open fire, despite the fact that he would have been able to see Miss Kamaleswaran as he fired the second shot.
During the trial, prosecuting barrister Edward Brown QC said: “The trio had travelled prepared and into enemy territory and, of course, were prepared to use that loaded gun in what was another depressing chapter in an increasingly violent series of attacks.”
All three were found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, as well as the attempted murder of Mr Bryan, who was unhurt. They will be sentenced next month.
Detective Superintendent Gordon Allison said: “This was a difficult and distressing case to investigate, bearing in mind Thusha was just five years old – a baby – when she was shot and paralysed by Grant, McCalla and Kolawole.
“Roshan Selvakumar 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 – and their choice to engage in gang violence.”