Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Raid terror family don't feel safe

The wife of a university lecturer who suffered "extreme" facial injuries at the hands of an armed gang during a violent burglary has said the couple's four daughters no longer feel safe in their own home.

Samantha MacArthur, 50, told the Daily Mail she has no idea why her family were targeted in the attack that nearly cost her husband Paul Kohler an eye.

Mr Kohler, 55, who is head of law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, needed reconstructive surgery after the gang of four burst into the house in Wimbledon, south-west London, and demanded money.

Police released a picture of Mr Kohler's shocking injuries and two men have been charged over the incident, while two more remain at large.

Ms MacArthur said: "I heard Paul answer the door and shout something like, 'What?' and then I heard him shout, 'Sam, help, help'. I raced on to the landing but as I did so, two men came up the stairs with their faces covered. I don't remember screaming, although (daughter) Eloise says I did.

"I can't get the picture of him after the attack out of my head. He was all covered in blood. Paul has been immensely brave but of course he's shaken up and shocked by what's happened.

"It has made the house feel less safe for my children. I am determined to make it feel safe again, but at the moment our daughters don't feel safe here and to me that's unforgiveable."

Detectives yesterday released new CCTV images of a suspect fleeing the scene in a hope to catch the two remaining suspects.

The footage, which was taken about a minute after the attack in Wimbledon, 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 in. Both remain at large and are believed to be aged about 20 to 30, and of Eastern European heritage.

Mr Kohler opened the front door to four balaclava-clad men who entered his home, assaulted him and repeatedly shouted: "Where's the money?"

Ms MacArthur was threatened by two men who attempted to tape her down to a chair.

Their daughter Eloise and her boyfriend Ger, both in their early 20s and who were upstairs at the time, managed to call 999 for help from a locked room.

Mr Kohler is in a south London hospital receiving treatment for multiple facial injuries and bruising to his body and limbs. He is undergoing surgery and treatment for a fractured eye socket.

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.

Detective inspector Dan O'Sullivan of Merton burglary squad said: "This new piece of CCTV is crucial in the identification of one of the outstanding suspects, and we are calling on anyone who recognises this man to come forward.

"It is my firm belief that this man and his other outstanding associate, would have been stained with blood spatter from the violent attack inside the house. Both were also wearing white surgical gloves when they fled. Whilst they attempted a quick exit, I'm sure that members of the public would have seen them.

"The victim currently remains in hospital and is awaiting surgery to an extreme eye injury which has led to the fracture of his socket. The level of violence used is unprecedented for this borough and we believe that the motive for this horrendous crime is purely for financial gain, and the attackers thought there was cash within the property."

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

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.


From Belfast Telegraph