Brother of badly beaten academic Paul Kohler speaks out about brutal attack in Kings Road, Wimbledon

A still taken from CCTV footage.

Paul Kohler

The family home in Kings Road, Wimbledon.

First published in News Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

The brother of a man brutally beaten in his own hallway has said he currently looks like the Elephant Man but is "a tough guy" and the family hopes he will be home soon.

Marcus Kohler is holding the fort at the family home in Kings Road, Wimbledon, where his brother Paul, a top legal academic, was battered so badly in a burglary on Monday night that his injuries were described by police as "life-changing".

His newly-wed wife Samantha MacArthur and daughters Saskia, Bethany, Tamara and Eloise are spending their days at their dad’s bedside in St George's Hospital.

Saskia was due to collect her AS Level results today from a college in Wallington.

Speaking at the family home this morning, Marcus told the Wimbledon Guardian the family is determined to move on.

Family photos are hung around the large kitchen, depicting happier times and the family tabby cat meows for attention as Marcus fields constant phone calls from friends, family and other journalists.

Sitting at the kitchen table, the family's current situation is clearly in stark contrast to their happiness in April when Paul and Samantha finally tied the knot and their four daughters were bridesmaids at Jesus College in Cambridge.

"The wedding was beautiful," said Marcus.

Asked how he felt about the intense media interest in the case he said: "I can understand the attention, it's a wealthy area."

At about 10pm on Monday night, the relaxed atmosphere of the family home was shattered when four smartly dressed men wearing balaclavas forced their way into the home and brutally attacked Paul and attempted to tie up his wife with tape before police arrived, arresting two of them while the other two fled.

According to Paul, the couple's daughter Eloise and her boyfriend were upstairs at the time, and Eloise, who is in her twenties, thought her parents had been stabbed.

She dialled 999. He said: "Paul fought them but he was over-powered.

"He didn’t speak to them, they assaulted him.

"Paul has lived in south London all his life, he is a Crystal Palace season ticket holder and well-known in the community.

"We are not going to let this stop that."

Paul, who is head of the law department at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, is undergoing surgery to repair a shattered eye socket and forehead, and is not expected to be released for some time.

But Marcus said: "We’re hoping he will be out soon.

"He will have to go back for operations on his face."

Paul co-owns a bar with a friend in central London called Cellar Door, as a sideline to his lecturing.

His brother said he is a tough guy and at first he was not worried when he found out he had been attacked.

He said that all changed when he got to the hospital on Monday night and saw how badly he had been injured.

He said: "Seeing him was unbelievable.

"I have never seen injuries like it.

"His face is like a flower blooming - it’s changing colour every day because of the bruising.

"He’s like the Elephant Man, it’s terrible.

He described the crime as senseless and sadistic and said the family is desperate to trace the outstanding men.

He said they have no idea why the family were targeted but assume it must have been a case of mistaken identity or the wrong house being chosen.

Marcus added: "This has been extremely tough for my brother.

"He is very strong, he’s always been a leader.

"He had no control and was beaten mercilessly."

Marcus, who lives in Cambridge, said the family is determined to move on from this horrifying incident and want to make the house a place where family and friends can come round and enjoy themselves again.

Two men have been charged in connection with the incident.

Two other men remain at large and police are appealing for witnesses and information.

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