Paul Kohler, one of the owners of famed cabaret venue Cellar Door, is recovering after being viciously beaten last week in an attack at his home.

Paul Kohler, one of the owners of famed cabaret venue Cellar Door, is recovering after being viciously beaten last week in an attack at his home.

Paul Kohler, one of the owners of famed cabaret venue Cellar Door, is recovering after being viciously beaten last week in an attack at his home.

Cellar Door owner Paul Kohler, 55, is recovering at home after he was severely beaten during a home invasion. The eight-minute attack by a band of masked men happened last week at his Wimbledon address. Kohler spent two days on the operating table as surgeons battled to rebuild his shattered eye and forehead followed by another two days convalescing in hospital.

The assault happened last Monday night. Kohler was at home with his wife Samantha and his eldest daughter Eloise enjoying a low-key family dinner, after which Eloise and her boyfriend Ger retired to her room to study.

Believing it to be one of their daughters’ friends, Kohler did not think twice about answering it. “A few people have said, ‘why did you open the door?’ which makes me slightly cross – why wouldn’t you open the door?” his wife said.

“It wasn’t three in the morning. It was 10pm and we have a busy, sociable house. We have four daughters coming and going when they’re all home, along with their friends, so Paul assumed it was one of them. In fact, Paul has since told me he actually thought he knew who it was at first – the shape through the glass panel in the door looked familiar, just like a male friend of one of our daughters, so when he opened the door he expected to see that person standing there.”

Instead, what greeted Kohler was a band of masked thugs who bundled him to the ground in the hallway and beat him. Upstairs, meanwhile, in the couple’s bedroom on the first floor, his wife had barely a moment to process what was going on before she too was wrestled to the ground and a hood was put over her head.

“I heard Paul answer the door and shout something like ‘what?’ and then I heard him shout ‘Sam, help! Help!’ she said. “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 Eloise says I did. I couldn’t really take in what was happening, it was like it was a drama.”

“He held me down by my chest, not hard but so I couldn’t get up, and told me he would hurt me if I moved. I could hear Paul shouting but because I couldn’t see, I wasn’t properly aware of what was going on. I was in shock and I just didn’t know what to do.

“I was fearful for Paul but also for Eloise – I was aware of one of them rushing past me and all I could think was ‘if he doesn’t go up the next flight of stairs he won’t find Eloise’. All these thoughts are racing through your mind but you don’t know what to do. I pulled the cover off my head and ran upstairs to check on Eloise. Then, when I knew she and Ger were OK, I raced downstairs.”

Kohler said “the first punch in the hall took my eye out, I thought I had lost the eye at that stage because it stopped functioning. But I just kept thinking of my wife and daughter and her boyfriend upstairs.

“They got me on the floor but I managed to stand up at one stage and trade blows with them. I got a few blows in, but these were thumps like I never had in my life – they could really punch.”

“I was facing all three and one of them hit me again on my blind side, so I was down again,” he said. “Then the ringleader picked up the heavy, wooden door of the cocktail cabinet, which is loose and has come off.

“And he knelt above me, holding the door above his head, saying, ‘Tell me where the money is’ – and threatening to bring it down on my head.”

It was at this point that the police intervened. Eloise had locked herself in an upstairs bedroom from where she called 999. Her mother went downstairs to see the police restraining two attackers and her husband gravely injured. “‘It is the most horrible thing to see your husband in that state and all I could feel was extreme anger towards the man I could see being held by the police – intense anger that someone could break into my house and do that to my husband. This wasn’t a teenager snatching an iPod, it was brutal.”

Kohler’s brother Marcus was shocked at the damage caused. “Seeing him was unbelievable. His face is like a flower blooming – it’s changing colour every day because of the bruising.”

The two men arrested at the scene have been remanded in custody. One suspect, Mariusz Tomaszewski, 32, of Tooting, who is originally from Poland, has been charged with grievous bodily harm and burglary while another Polish man Pawel Honc, 23, of no fixed address, appeared at the same court charged with the same offences.

All here at This Is Cabaret wish Paul and his family our best wishes. 

Sources: Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail