‘Why us?’ Wimbledon burglary victim determined to put ‘mindless’ attack behind him after thugs jailed for 64 years

The victim of a violent Wimbledon burglary which shocked the nation has spoken out in court against the ‘mindless thuggery’ he experienced, determined to know why his family was targeted.

University lecturer Paul Kohler sustained terrible injuries and pictures of his bruised and swollen face hit headlines across the UK last summer.

The four men responsible for the burglary were jailed today for a total of 64 years.

In an impact statement to the court Mr Kohler said: “The attack on our home destroyed the calm of a family evening.

“The pointless ferocity, and utter senselessness, endangered my family’s peace of mind, my physical and our psychological well-being and risked fermenting issues within the wider community both in Wimbledon and beyond.”

He also described to the court how he felt during the attack.

“I am sure the court can well imagine the range of thoughts that went through my head during what felt like a very long eight minutes being held down, beaten and kicked, by two and sometimes three of the masked attackers,” he explained.

Wimbledon burglary Paul Kohler.jpg 2
BRUTAL: Mr Kohler suffered horrific injuries

“Among other things, I felt stupid for letting them into our house; impotent in failing to protect my loved ones; and fear, when they tried to gag me, when I temporarily lost sight in my left eye, and when they threatened to bring a heavy wooden door down on my head, particularly as I had only just recovered from a heart attack a few months previously.

“The pain and trauma I suffered that night and in hospital over the next week was worse than anything I have ever experienced and I had repeated nightmares and flashbacks for months afterwards.”

Mr Kohler suffered a fractured eye socket (resulting in a degree of permanent double vision), a broken nose, extensive bruising and loss of blood which meant he required a number of transfusions.

An operation to repair his eye socket had to be cancelled at the last minute due to concerns about a recent heart attack.

Despite his own experience he also spoke out about the long-lasting effects the burglary had on his family, which left the family feeling ‘less secure’.

He also paid tribute to his daughter Eloise and her boyfriend Ger who hid in a bedroom so they could call the police and save him ‘from what could have been a far worse fate’.

He said: “I earnestly hope that my public acknowledgement of both the debt Samantha (wife) and I owe them, and our pride in what they did, will assist her in moving on from that night despite the nightly reminder when she goes to bed.”

Mr Kohler said that he and his family had no thought of succumbing to intimidation and moving house, but was determined to move on.

He explained: “We do, however, want to put this behind us and to do so successfully need to understand why we were attacked.

“We do, however, want to put this behind us and to do so successfully need to understand why we were attacked.”

“I consequently want to say directly to each of the attackers that, if you are genuinely remorseful, you will waste no more time in telling us, through your counsel if you wish, the real reason why we were targeted.

“I am optimistic that, in time, the same will even be true of the perpetrators who I genuinely hope will give us the opportunity to truly forgive them.

“Not, I hasten to add, via the easily expressed regrets of their counsel, but in showing true remorse by providing a coherent explanation of why they attacked us and, most importantly, by genuinely turning their backs on their lives of petty and vicious criminality.”

He ended the statement by saying that the attack had affected the wider community.

He said: “An attack such as this puts people in fear of the one place they should feel most secure; namely their home.

“That is, I believe, why the case received so much publicity and, whilst most commentators restricted themselves to the relevant issues, allowed some to push an anti-Polish agenda which sullied the name of a proud and honourable nation.

“My inbox has been inundated with emails from, among many others, the Polish community in particular, apologising for what the attackers did.

“I would, on behalf of my family, consequently like to finish by thanking our many well-wishers, both within and beyond the Polish community, and to stress that the actions of the perpetrators had nothing to with immigration, and were simply an example of mindless thuggery.”

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