Armed gang’s victim tells of his fight for life during brutal attack

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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 has spoken publicly 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, London.

From his hospital bed, Mr Kohler, 55, who is head of law at a School of Oriental and African Studies, said: “Within my 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.”

Mr Kohler opened the front door someone he believed may have been one of his daughter’s friends but found four balaclava-clad men bursting into his home.They assaulted him and repeatedly shouted: ‘’Where’s the money?’’

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

Mr Kohler tried to break free but found himself confronted 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.

“He knelt above me, holding the door above his head, saying, ‘Tell me where the money is’.”

Mr Kohler was saved as a police officer intervened after their daughter and her boyfriend, who were upstairs at the time called 999. Two men have been charged but two more remain at large.