Long jail terms for 'savage' attack
Four burglars jailed for a "drugs and alcohol fuelled" raid on a university professor's home targeted him because they had the wrong address, the victim claimed today.
Paul Kohler, 55, suffered a fractured eye socket, a fracture to his left jawbone, a broken nose and bruising that left him "utterly unrecognisable" during the attack at his home in Wimbledon, south London.
His wife, Samantha MacArthur, 50, was also threatened by the intruders on the night of August 11 last year.
The four "remorseless" Polish burglars who took part in the "savage" attack were today given sentences of up to 19 years at Kingston Crown Court.
Speaking outside court, Mr Kohler said he believes that he was targeted because the men had the wrong address.
During the two-day sentencing process, the court heard that one of the defendants believed that he was going to the house of a "heavy drug dealer".
Pawel Honc, of no fixed address, and Mariusz Tomaszewski, of Crusoe Road, Mitcham, south London, were both sentenced to 19 years after admitting grievous bodily harm with intent and aggravated burglary.
Oskar Pawlowicz, of Pitcairn Road in Mitcham, and Dawid Tychon, 29, of no fixed address, were both sentenced to 13 years after they pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary.
Speaking outside court, Mr Kohler, who is head of law at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, said: "I feel vindicated by the sentence but I don't want to be vindictive about it.
"I take no pleasure in their deservedly long sentence - and it is a long sentence, and that's right and proper.
"It will be difficult for them, as it should be, but I'm not going to sit here and jump up and down looking delighted about it.
"I still feel some anger, I hope I don't feel bitter. I hope in time that will pass.
"It depends what they do with their lives after this sentence whether or not my anger eventually subsides."
Asked if he had got the answers he was looking for on why he was targeted, he said: "I've been told something by the police in confidence which confirms my view they got the wrong address.
"I'm sure that's what it was, I've always thought that and now I'm pretty convinced that was so."
Sentencing the men, Judge Susan Tapping said they had targeted Mr Kohler's house either because they had the expectation of finding items of "significant value" to steal or because they chose the wrong address to collect a debt.
Referring to the witness statement Mr Kohler gave yesterday, she said that it had shown his "generosity of spirit".
She told the defendants: "One matter it contained was an appeal to you to explain why his family home was targeted.
"This explanation would help them all but your mitigation either did not help at all or was at odds with what others had said.
"Without this explanation he understandably questions the true value of any remorse expressed."
Mr Kohler, who was flanked by his wife and daughter Eloise, watched the men intently as they were given their sentences.
Eloise, who was in the property with her boyfriend Geraint and managed to hide and call police, burst into tears as the sentence was delivered.
Her sisters Beth and Saskia were also in court and Geraint sat close to the dock with Mr Kohler, Ms MacArthur and Eloise to watch the sentencing.
Honc, 24, Tomaszewski, 32, Pawlowicz, 30, and Tychon, 29, all remained calm as they were sent down.
The five-minute attack began when Mr Kohler went to answer the door at around 10pm while his wife, 24-year-old Eloise and Geraint were upstairs.
The four men burst in wearing scarves to conceal their identities and blue latex gloves.
Tychon shouted "Where's the money?" and Mr Kohler screamed "You've got the wrong address", the court heard.
Mr Kohler was pushed to the floor and Honc sat on him and repeatedly punched him in the face while another man kicked him in the head.
He was also threatened by Tychon, who held a wooden cabinet door over his head ready to swing it down on him.
Pawlowicz and another assailant went upstairs, pushed Ms MacArthur and covered her face, threatening to hurt her if she moved.
An Apple Mac laptop, an HP laptop, two mobile phones and jewellery worth around £2,000 were taken and subsequently recovered.
The court heard that, apart from Honc, all the other defendants have long criminal records in their home country, with 32 convictions between them.
Pawlowicz has also been convicted in the UK for a raft of offences including sexual assault and affray.
Detective Inspector Daniel O'Sullivan, who led the investigation, said that all four perpetrators had "pivotal roles throughout", making it difficult to identify the ringleader.
He said: "This was a horrific attack on Paul and his family. The defendants have shown little remorse throughout this two day sentence and throughout the whole investigation.
"Their motivation was purely one of financial greed, all four defendants were fuelled by drugs and alcohol, and I'm pleased with the sentence today, it should give closure to the family."