A brutal attack was the reason one Wimbledon man was inspired to get involved with politics.
Paul Kohler is standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate in Wimbledon, he was also elected as a councillor on Merton Council last May.
In 2014 a shocking photo of his bruised and swollen face hit national headlines after he was beaten up in his own home by burglars.
One night he opened his door to four men who immediately started to beat him up asking him where the money was.
His wife Samantha MacArthur was also threatened by the men while one of his daughters called the police.
He was kicked and punched by the burglars which left him with a fractured eye socket, a fracture to his left jawbone and a broken nose.
Police officers arrived within minutes and arrested the four men – In 2015 they were jailed.
Mariusz Tomaszewski and Pawel Honc received 19 years each after admitting causing grievous bodily harm with intent and aggravated burglary.
Oskar Pawlowicz and Dawid Tychon who admitted aggravated burglary, were sentenced to 13 years each.
After he recovered from the attack Paul started campaigning to save Wimbledon Police Station.
He said: “The police station was very important to me in my view, it’s location saved my life when [the criminals] were going to take it away.”
In May this year, he successfully challenged the Mayor of London’s decision to close the station in the High Court last year, which halted the closure.
The station is still one that is earmarked to be sold off but Paul is confident it could remain open long-
term. And it was not just the police station issue that got Paul interested in going into politics.
The men who attacked the law lecturer were Polish and in the weeks and months following the horrific incident, the photo of his bruised face was used by far right groups online.
“I was politicised by the aftermath of the attack,” he said. “The hard right and the leave campaign used my image in an anti EU campaigns on foreign convicts.
“My image was used by the far right in Germany, France and Italy.
“Equally the far left also attacked me because the far right had used my story to attack foreigners.“That really started things whirring in my sub conscious.
“My wife said stop sitting in front of the TV shouting at politicians. I never saw myself going into politics I was an academic and had my bar.”
Paul was head of law at SOAS, he stopped lecturing two weeks ago to focus on the election campaign. He also owns the Cellar Door bar in Central London.
He has four grown up daughters and has lived in Wimbledon for 30 years.
The 60-year-old said the experience showed him how misleading information can be spread easily online and how polarised the world can be.
He said: “I am really worried about what is happening in the west.”
And he added that after his ordeal hit the headlines he was emailed by thousands of Polish people to apologise for the criminals.
In Wimbledon The Green Party did not put forward a candidate as part of the Unite to Remain pact.There are three other candidates standing in the constituency.
Conservative Stephen Hammond is standing for re-election. He was first elected in Wimbledon in 2005.
Jackie Schneider is the Labour candidate and has lived in Wimbledon for 23 years. She has taught as a primary school teacher in local schools.
Independent candidate Graham Hadley is also standing in the constituency.
Extinction Rebellion Merton is holding a climate hustings tonight, Wednesday (December 4) from 7.30pm at Wimbledon Congregational Church.
Another hustings from The Wimbledon Churches is scheduled for Tuesday, December 10 from 8pm at Holy Trinity Church in Wimbledon.
Photo credit: Paul Kohler