A 19-year-old Nigerian, Kazeem Kolawole, and two others are facing trial in London over the shooting of a girl, who is now paralysed waist down
One moment, five-year-old Thusha Kamaleswaran was “happily playing” in a south London shop.
The next, she was shot in the chest and went into cardiac arrest twice – saved only by the medics who performed “invasive surgery” on her as she lay bleeding on the shop floor.
But Thusha was left permanently paralysed after the shooting at Stockwell Food and Wine in south London last March, a court heard.
A jury was on Tuesday shown CCTV footage of the attack for which a 19-year-old Nigerian, Kazeem Kolawole, Anthony McCalla, 19, and Nathaniel Grant, 21, from south London are being tried.
Prosecutor Edward Brown QC warned the jury that they might find the CCTV footage from inside Stockwell Food and Wine disturbing.
The jury was also shown a photograph of the cardigan that Thusha was wearing that day, bloodstained and with bullet damage.
She was hit by the second shot that was fired, the court heard. Mr Roshan Selvakumar, a shopper, was hit by the first shot, fired seven seconds earlier.
Mr Brown told the court: “He remembers trying to shut the door on the gunman and then felt a blow to his face, and a crunching sensation inside his head.
“He didn’t know he had been hit by a bullet. He thought perhaps it was a bottle.”
The scene inside the shop was “frantic”, with Mr Selvakumar’s blood dripping on the floor as he retreated and Thusha being picked up and taken to the back, Mr Brown said.
Her heart stopped in the shop and surgery had to be performed at the scene to save her. She went into cardiac arrest again in hospital, and once more emergency surgery saved her life.
The bullet had passed through her chest and through the seventh vertebra of her spine, leaving her permanently in a wheelchair.
Grant, of Camberwell New Road, Camberwell, Kolawole, of Black Prince Road, Lambeth, and McCalla, of Oakdale Road, Streatham, are accused of acting together in staging the attack.
They also face charges of the attempted murder of another man, Roshaun Bryan, whom the prosecution say was the intended victim that day, and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Mr Bryan had run into the shop in a bid to escape the trio, the court heard.
“She remains paralysed throughout much of her body. This is a permanent condition. She will never walk again,” prosecutor Edward Brown, QC, told London’s Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey.
They were allegedly chasing someone they thought was a rival gang member into the store, The Guardian reported.
They fired two shots through the shop’s open door, first hitting Selvakumar, 35, in the face and then Thusha in her chest.
Mr Selvakumar was seriously injured and the bullet remains in his head. If the wound was centimetres to one side he would have died, jurors were told.
Thusha went into cardiac arrest within minutes of the bullet hitting her, Mr Brown said.
Paramedics performed surgery on her, restarting her heart.
She was taken her to Kings College Hospital, where she went into cardiac arrest again. She was revived during emergency surgery, Mr Brown said.
“Both victims were remarkably lucky,” Mr Brown told the court.
“The intention of the gunman and his accomplices, to kill, was plain, however. They very nearly succeeded. Equally plain is that they were acting as a team of three, together.”
The trio denied causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Selvakumar and Thusha, The Guardian reported.
They also denied attempting to murder Bryan, who ran into the shop, and of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Mr Brown told the court the men were alleged members of the OC or GAS gang and were “involved in an ongoing and violent rivalry with an opposing gang known as ABM”, London’s Daily Telegraph reported.
There was a “tit-for-tat escalating in degrees of violence”, Brown said.
“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,” Mr Brown told the court, The Guardian reported.
The trial continues.
•Culled from the Sydney Morning Herald