Thusha keeps smiling despite trauma of Stockwell shooting

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Thusha Kamaleswaran
Thusha Kamaleswaran, who was left paralysed after being shot in Stockwell a year ago Photo:

Somehow, quite naturally, she keeps on smiling - despite the trauma of the last year and the uncertain future before her.

On the surface at least the only signs Thusha Kamaleswaran is paralysed after being shot is the obvious one - she can't walk.

Because she can and does do everything else a six year old girl should - treasure her favourite dress and shoes, tease her big brother and look forward to playing with her friends.

Perhaps it is by focusing on those simple pleasures that Thusha, her parents and brother and sister have been able to cope with the aftermath of her shooting in Stockwell, south London, one year ago.

Meeting them to record her first television interview since the three men who shot her were convicted was a humbling experience.

Thusha Kamaleswaran
Jon Clements meets Thusha and her family at their home in Ilford, east London Credit: ITV News

Thusha's family have little to hold onto apart from each other and their hope, or perhaps faith, that a miracle will occur and she'll walk again.

She will need constant medical care for the rest of her life and her parents concede there's little they can do help defy the medical odd except pray.

But it's by hoping for a brighter future they are able to cope with the realities of the present and the difficulties they present.

For the moment Thusha sleeps in a orthopaedic bed, her little sister Thushaika no longer in the same room as there is now too little space.

With brother Thushen at her side, she showed me her love of maths and number puzzles - she can't wait to return to school after Easter.

Her siblings worry about her, of course, but there is an astonishing degree of normality about their joking and playing when you remember they saw her felled by a bullet before their eyes.

Thusha's parents saw that horror too and while her condition is a daily reminder that she'll need special care for the rest of her life they have decided that love is the answer - not fear or rancour.

Their hopes that the three teenage gunmen receive long prison sentences later this month is driven by a wish to know they won't be able to hurt others rather than a desire for vengeance.

Life for them goes on, albeit without jobs as they devote their time to easing Thusha back into home life and giving her as much normality as they can.

When Thusha wants to show us her special bike designed to stimulate the nerves in her legs her father Sassi straps her in with less fuss than many dads make when putting their children in a car seat.

All three children are impeccably behaved, bright and friendly, helpful to each other and us as we film in a playground.

Thusha Kamaleswaran
Thusha shows Jon Clements her love of maths and number puzzles

They know something extraordinary happened to them to bring cameras, yet seem to accept its consequences however far-reaching and frightening.

For mum Sharmila it is her Hindu faith which keeps her going, a belief that because there is no explanation for why her daughter became Britain's youngest victim of gun crime there need not be an explanation for why her daughter will be able to walk once more.

The most pressing concern though is the practicalities of the coming months and years - many of which may pass before Thusha receives compensation, her solicitors at Stewarts Law fear.

The detectives who caught Thusha's assailants have so far raised £60,000, a fine effort and one the family are most grateful for.But it's a drop in the ocean compared to the multi-million pound payouts children paralysed in car accidents receive from insurers.

Not that Thusha is aware of these concerns, her parents protect her from those issues to give her time to focus on the ones that matter to her right now, beating her brother on the Wii and going back to school.

Between 22 - 23 September 2012, detectives and police staff members including investigating officer Detective Inspector Jim Redmond, CCTV Officer Detective Constable Richard Williamson and Family Liaison Officer John Codd will attempt to climb Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Mount Snowden in Wales within 24 hours for Thusha.

An account named ‘The Thusha Appeal’ 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.