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British academic who was brutally beaten forgives attacker

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Tuesday, December 1, 2015, 5:00 PM

Police released this photo of University of London professor Paul Kohler after they said a group of men attacked him during a robbery of his family's South London home in August 2014.Metropolitan Police/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Police released this photo of University of London professor Paul Kohler after they said a group of men attacked him during a robbery of his family’s South London home in August 2014.

A British academic who was beaten in his family’s London home forgave one of the men convicted in the brutal burglary, according to reports.

University of London professor Paul Kohler, with his wife and four daughters, met Mariusz Tomaszewski at a jail last week after the August 2014 home invasion left Kohler with a fractured eye socket and left jawbone, a broken nose and multiple bruises, he told BBC Radio.

The encounter happened at Tomaszewski’s request after his appeal of a 19-year sentence for grievous bodily harm with intent and aggravated burglary failed. Tomaszewski, 32, apologized to the law lecturer at the university’s School of Oriental and African Studies for the brutal attack by four men at the family’s Wimbledon, South London, home, Kohler said.

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“I shook hands at the end. My whole family did,” said Kohler, 56. “I think that was for us to decide whether we’d do it or not, and we decided we would do it. At the beginning there was no shaking of hands, there was momentary eye contact. It was very nervous at the beginning.”

Kohler, a Cambridge-educated law professor at the university's School of Oriental and African Studies, needed facial reconstruction surgery after the attack, he said. Skendong via YouTube

Kohler, a Cambridge-educated law professor at the university’s School of Oriental and African Studies, needed facial reconstruction surgery after the attack, he said. 

Representatives of an organization that practices “restorative justice by helping victims regain peace of mind called, Why Me?, arranged the meeting, which also included a chaplain and an imam, the Mirror reported.

Kohler told the publication Tomaszewski admitted to punching him and threatening to hit him with a wooden cabinet door if he didn’t hand over money. The four men — who police said were caught the day of the attack after one of Kohler’s daughters managed to call the cops — meant to rob a different house, Kohler said.

“From the meeting I have learned that forgiving is more rewarding for the forgiver than the forgiven,” he told the Mirror. “I had gone to help myself and my family, but in doing so I think we helped him, too. I think any victim of crime should consider restorative justice.”

Another one of the men convicted in the attack, Pawel Honc, 24, also received a 19-year sentence for grievous bodily harm with intent and aggravated burglary, while Oskar Pawlowicz, 30, and Dawid Tychon, 29, got 13 years behind bars, The Telegraph reported in January.

Representatives for Why Me? didn’t immediately respond to a request to know whether the other men might face Kohler and his family. Other victims’ stories featured on its website include couples who met their sons’ killers and a woman who received an apology from the man who murdered her brother.

Kohler told BBC that Tomaszewski “looked exhausted” after the meeting.

“We got remorse and after initial platitudes, I suppose, we got proper remorse,” Kohler said. “He explained to us how he was going to try to move his life forward, and that’s important because the apology means nothing if, in ten years, whenever he gets out, he goes and does it again.”

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