A little girl left paralysed after being gunned down in a gang-related shooting now has nearly £200,000 to pay for her care, raised by detectives who investigated the horrifying case.
Thusha Kamaleswaran was caught up in crossfire as she played in her uncle's shop in Stockwell, south London, in March 2011. Chilling CCTV footage showed the girl, then five, skipping and dancing in one of the aisles when she was shot in the chest.
She lay slumped on the floor before terrified relatives grabbed her and rushed her to safety at the back of the shop.
Officers who investigated the case and their civilian colleagues were so moved by her plight that they took part in the Three Peaks Challenge over the weekend, and so far have raised around £185,000. They bought a specially adapted bike for around £5,000, and the rest has gone into a trust fund for Thusha.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Redmond 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."
Thusha, whose ambition was to be a dancer, 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 in hospital, and medics fear she is now permanently paralysed.
Nathaniel Grant, Anthony McCalla and Kazeem Kolawole were given life sentences at the Old Bailey in April for causing Thusha and shopper Roshan Selvakumar grievous bodily harm with intent.
Detective Sergeant Richard Williamson, who was commended by Judge Martin Stephens QC for his work painstakingly sifting through hundreds of hours of CCTV to capture the trio, said: "The generosity that people have shown has completely blown us away."
Thusha's father, Jeyakumar Ghanasekaram, who is known as Sassi, thanked the officers for what they had done for the seven-year-old. He said: "We are very grateful for the help from the officers, who have gone beyond the call of duty for Thusha. I don't know how we can thank them, they have been very kind."