'I Fought For My Life' Says SOAS Law Lecturer Paul Kohler Beaten By Robbers At London Home

'I Fought For My Life' Says Lecturer Beaten By Robbers At London Home

The victim of a violent burglary has told how he "fought for his life" in the brutal attack by a gang of armed men.

University law lecturer Paul Kohler needed facial reconstruction surgery after sustaining a fractured eye socket in the burglary at the home he shares with his wife and four daughters.

He told the Daily Mail of his ordeal and said he feels he was either the victim of mistaken identity or a "stupid assumption" the couple were sitting on a pile of cash because they own a bar in Covent Garden.

Paul Kohler, the victim of a violent burglary, whohas told how he "fought for his life" in the brutal attack by a gang of armed men

From his hospital bed, Kohler, 55, who is head of law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, said: "Within me domain I had this hostile force and I felt incredibly protective. I had my family there and this whole notion of an Englishman's home is his castle - that was the feeling. I realised I'd stupidly let into my own house someone who was out to create havoc, and there's a real sense of fear and panic. But I felt I had to defend my home and my family. I really was fighting for my life."

Kohler opened the front door to whom he believed may have been open of his daughter's friends but found four balaclava-clad men bursting into his home, before they assaulted him and repeatedly shouted: ''Where's the money?''

He called out to his wife Samantha MacArthur, 50, who was threatened by two men who attempted to tape her down to a chair until she attempted to wriggle free.

Kohler tried to break free but found himself confronted with three again almost immediately. "I was facing all three and one of them hit me again on my blind side, so I was down again. Then the ringleader picked up the heavy, wooden door of the cocktail cabinet, which is loose and has come off. And he knelt above me, holding the door above his head, saying, 'Tell me where the money is' - and threatening to bring it down on my head."

Kohler was saved as a police officer intervened. Their daughter Eloise and her boyfriend Ger, both in their early 20s and who were upstairs at the time, had managed to call 999 for help from a locked room. Kohler is in a south London hospital receiving treatment for multiple facial injuries and bruising to his body and limbs.

The day after the attack, police released a picture of Kohler's shocking injuries and two men have so far been charged over the incident, while two more remain at large. Detectives also released CCTV images of another suspect fleeing the scene in a hope to catch the remaining two gang members.

The footage, which was taken about a minute after the attack in Wimbledon, south-west London, depicts a panicked man fleeing through Wimbledon Theatre car park. He can be seen removing surgical gloves but was not picked up on CCTV after this. Officers were called to the property in Kings Road at 10pm on Monday following reports that a burglary was taking place.

Police said officers were on the scene within minutes and arrested two suspects in their late 20s but two others made off on foot - with one of them being caught on CCTV. It is not known which direction the fourth man headed. Both remain at large and are believed to be about 20 to 30, and of eastern European heritage.

A number of personal items stolen in the burglary are believed to have been recovered after being discarded and a large kitchen knife was found close to the scene, police said. Officers are also keen to speak to anyone who saw a silver Volkswagen two-door cabriolet-style car which was believed to have been used by the suspects.

Two men have appeared in court charged with aggravated burglary and grievous bodily harm and been remanded in custody until another court appearance later this month.

Anyone with information is urged to call the incident room on 020 8649 3159 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.


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