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Monday, 24 September 2012

Detectives reach new heights in Thusha appeal fund

24 September 2012
The police team that investigated the shooting of Thusha Kamaleswaran have this weekend completed the Three Peaks Challenge to boost the trust fund they set up for her.

Thusha was just five-years-old when on 29 March 2011, whilst happily playing in her uncle's Stockwell shop, she was shot by gang members who had chased a rival into the store.

The little girl's heart stopped twice and emergency surgery was performed to save her life. Sadly she has been left paralsyed by her injuries and requires around the clock care.

Touched by Thusha's bravery and horrified by the CCTV footage showing the moment she was shot, the team, who usually investigate gang related murders, vowed to climb Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales to raise funds for her future.

The idea of taking on the Three Peaks Challenge was the brainchild of team typist Chris Andreou who set about recruiting the 12 detectives and three members of police staff who eventually took on the gruelling challenge.

Chris said: "Initially we were hoping to raise £5,000 so that we could buy Thusha her own specially adapted bicycle. We were then completely shocked and delighted when, thanks to the support and generosity of the public, not only have we already been able to purchase the cycle but have just under £180,000 left over which has been placed in a trust fund for Thusha's future."

Publicity following the convictions of three men in March prompted people from all over the country to donate to Thusha's fund. One anonymous donor gave £15,000, others held charity events and some offered dance enthusiast Thusha opportunities to attend shows as the guest of honour.

Key members of the investigation took part in the challenge which was completed in just over 28 hours in extreme weather conditions including fog and snow.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Redmond, who was the investigating officer on the case, 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. The impact this has had on her family, the nature of Thusha's injuries and her age has 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 when she is in pain."

As part of the complex investigation the team seized some 700 hours of CCTV from 150 cameras. One officer, Detective Sergeant 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.

Richard said: "Chris was the driving force behind the challenge and for me taking part was a chance in a lifetime. The generosity that people have shown has completely blown us away. It is amazing that some of the money has already gone towards making Thusha's life easier. If we are able to get to £200,000 that would be great."

Detective Constable John Codd was the family liaison officer for Thusha and her family. John said: "It was amazing to be part of the Three Peaks Challenge and to know that it will help Thusha on her route to a better quality of life since she was shot. If the money we have raised and continue to raise helps her to gain more confidence and freedom through purchasing equipment she needs to maintain as normal a life as possible, then every step has been worth it."

Donations can be made to the 'Thusha Appeal Fund' held at the HSBC Bank, 5 Wimbledon Hill Road, London SW19 7NF. The account number is: 12239108 and the sort code: 40-07-30.

Donations can also be made via Paypal.

For further information about the challenge and how to donate, visit:

http://www.threepeakschallenge.net/4148/team-thusha

http://www.thushafund.co.uk

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