Four burglars who attacked a lecturer in his own UK home were in court for sentencing today. Paul Kohler, 55, was brutally attacked during the robbery and needed facial reconstruction surgery after the attack in Kings Road, Wimbledon, on August 11.
Details of the attack and images of Mr Kohler's injuries make me sick to the stomach; news that his four attackers are not British nationals and have long criminal records back home cause anger.
As one man sat on Mr Kohler he was repeatedly beaten about the face.
Mrs Kohler, his daughter and her boyfriend were upstairs. His wife was confronted but the young couple hid in a bedroom and contacted the police.
It is not hard to imagine what could have happened without police intervention.
"Investigating officer Detective Inspector Dan O'Sullivan said the level of violence used was "utterly unnecessary" and the incident had a lasting effect on Mr Kohler and his family."
Mr Kohler continues to recover from his physical injuries but the mental scars inflicted on this family will not go easily.
In court it was revealed that Kohler, head of law at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, had suffered a heart attack months earlier.
"Mariusz Tomaszewski, 32, and Pawel Honc, 24, received 19 years each after admitting causing grievous bodily harm with intent and aggravated burglary. Oskar Pawlowicz, 30, and Dawid Tychon, 29, who admitted aggravated burglary, were sentenced to 13 years each."
The day of the attack the four assailants were under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
The men are all Polish migrants and two had no fixed address.
Such stories are horrific but they also play into the hearts and minds of people in Britain especially those who oppose free movement across the EU and are anti-immigration.
This week the family of 14-year-old Alice Gross, who went missing on August 28 and was later found dead, have appealed to anti-immigration groups not to politicize the inquest into her death.
The coroner is being asked to consider the wider implications of her death including immigration rules in the UK. Should we be allowing known criminals into this country? Other countries such as the USA have strict rules even regarding tourists visiting that country.
Immigration is a hot issue in the UK in the run up to the 2015 General Election and these sad cases may be mercilessly used and abused by activists.
Alice was caught on CCTV as she crossed a bridge in London, and minutes later Latvian builder Arnis Zalkalns, 41, was also caught on camera. He was cycling along the same canal bridge in the same direction Alice was walking. Alice was never seen alive again.
There is no justice for the family of Alice as Zalkalns was dead, presumably by his own hands, before he could be apprehended.
He was another EU migrant in the UK who had a criminal record back home. "He was allowed to enter the UK in 2007, despite having served seven years for murdering his wife Rudite in Latvia."
The UK traditionally is a very generous country enjoying the diversity migration brings but where do we draw the line? Surely at stopping criminals entering the UK?
The UK will foot-the-bill for police investigation, trials, inquests and prison terms. The victims will wonder why they have been so let down by this country.
Op-Ed: On February 20, 2015, it will be 22 years since John Venables and Robert Thompson, both aged 10 at the time, were charged with the brutal murder of James Bulger, a toddler who was almost three-years-old.
The case shocked and continues to do so.
From time to time the killers have made headline news and this week it was Jon Venables again. Reports that under his new fake identity he has been allowed to join dating sites has angered campaigners and especially the parents of James.
Venables is out on licence which includes strict rules. His parole is a life-long sentence meaning if he breaks the rules he could be jailed.
Both of the young killers served just eight years before they were released back into the community. Both were given new identities but Venables has struggled to meet the terms of his release.
Little is reported of Robert Thompson who also has a new life.
But in 2010 Venables was back in prison after child porn images were found on his laptop. In 2011 officials decided he should stay in prison but in 2013 that ruling was overturned and on September 3, 2013, he was free again albeit on licence.
He was freed without a 'tag' meaning police have little idea where he is or what he may be doing.
He has reportedly already had four identities each costing the British taxpayer £250,000. But keeping them in jail, with the security needed to protect them could cost much more.
So what to do with this child killer, who was a child himself at that time?
Concerns about his use of the dating websites under his official anonymity are that he could prey on young Mums. There are obviously many other concerns.
Imagine unknowingly dating and marrying this man?
However if he is deemed safe to be in society then he must be allowed to live his life.
Perhaps the conclusion is that having breached the terms of his licence more than once he should be in jail.
It could be a witch-hunt or it could be that he is one young killer who has no place in society; perhaps that will always be the case?
"Journalist and child protection expert Mark Williams-Thomas found Venables’ online dating profile in a joint investigation with the Sunday Mirror."
Has he broken the terms of his licence again or are the authorities allowing him to trawl the net unmonitored?
On the 20th anniversary of the murder of James we remembered:
"February 12, 2013, the nation remembers, and mother of James, Denise Fergus, speaks about the two ten-year-old killers, and her search for justice.
In February 1993 people in the UK read details of the shocking murder of two-year-old James. Revelations of the details of his horrific murder, by two children, sent shock-waves around the world.
James Patrick Bulger was born on March 16, 1990. He was 'snatched' by two 10-year-old boys whilst shopping with his mother, in the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, Liverpool, England, on February 12, 1993.
Grainy CCTV images of the two 10-year-olds, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, send chilling shivers down the backbone. The boys initially appeared as if helping little James find his mother. The truth was that they were leading him on a long journey, one that led him to his death.
The shocking details of how James was treated and then murdered are grim. The details need handling with sensitivity. However, they need noting.
As SkyNews reports, "They took him to a railway embankment in Walton, Liverpool, where they tortured him, inflicting 42 injuries before leaving him dead on the tracks where a train severed his body". There were reports of a 'sexual element' to this murder but that was never proven.
Prior to his death the little boy was walked, dragged or marched a long distance. According to Wikipedia it was a meandering 2.5-mile (4.0 km) walk across Liverpool to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, where he was dropped on his head and suffered injuries to his face.
At least 38 people witnessed the children's journey, yet no person intervened.
James was killed on February 12, 1993, but his body was not located for two-days.
The killers had stolen various items before they took James. Their original plan was to abduct a child and lead him 'to the busy road alongside the mall'. They would then push the child into the path of oncoming traffic. CCTV footage of the boys lurking in the shopping centre, before coming across James, is chilling.
The boy's mother momentarily lost sight of her young son and he was gone."
The authorities ignored the pleas of Denise Fergus and released Venables later in 2013.
As the anniversary of the murder of James Bulger draws near again we ask, Is Jon Venables fit to be free on licence or not?
Op-Ed: Do you remember veteran Movie actor Clint Eastwood's almost deranged conversation with an empty chair at the GOP convention in Florida in 2012? Clint allegedly spoke without a script to a vacant chair meant to represent a conversation with Barack Obama. It may have been loved by the GOP but many people winced with embarrassment at Clint's rant.
What has this to do with the UK and the 2015 General Election? It could be a great deal
After all the arguments and posturing about who will debate with whom in televised election debates it now looks like viewers may watch a debate that includes at least one 'empty chair'.
UK PM David Cameron has been running scared from these debates from day one. He was quite happy when they were launched in 2010 and looked like the cat got that got the cream when Labour PM Gordon Brown agreed to take part. Now he is the sitting PM he is not so keen.
Certainly Cameron will have everything to lose and Ed Miliband, Labour, all to win. After being UK PM since 2010 Cameron looks the part of Prime Minister but Mr Miliband has yet to persuade the nation he is PM material.
But having so openly pushed for these televised debates in 2010 Cameron simply looks 'chicken' as he tries to find excuses not to take part.
Television broadcasters have come up with some solutions which are typically 'only in the UK' and in my opinion bonkers.
Cameron had agreed to debate with Miliband but problems arose when one TV channel invited not only Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg but UKIPs Nigel Farage.
Once that happened it was open silly season
Cameron refused to take part unless the Green Party were represented.
That was either a strategic decision or to scupper the debates. The Greens and their supporters took to social media to push for their inclusion.
In the last few weeks conversations about which party or parties may work as coalition partners in British government have taken place; not with the electorate of course.
We voters will be expected to vote blind in many ways. That may deter some people from voting.
It all depends if you are happy to vote for a political party that may join forces with another of any political colour.
But as the coalition potential partner net expands at least one political debate will now include seven politicians. Yes 7!
In the mix will be a representative from Scotland and one from Wales but not Northern Ireland. Already that is causing more problems.
And of course English voters will not be able to vote for any of those so will not want to listen to their campaign messages simply in case they help form a coalition government.
But if it is going to be a free for all why not start out with a huge debate with all candidates, including the loony fringe parties and run it into a political 'It's a Knockout'.
If we do that we can scrap costly elections and simply let the last one standing be declared the winner?
Yes silly I know; but only as silly as the current fixation with televised election debates.
They are relatively new in the UK and another Americanism crossing the Pond which we neither need nor really want in reality.
Millions may disagree and tune in to the debates which will be held in April.
If the debates, which Cameron has tried hard to scupper, do go ahead how many empty podiums will there be?
The current state of play as per BBC News "The BBC and ITV plan to stage debates involving the Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems, Green Party, UKIP, the SNP and Plaid Cymru. Sky and Channel 4's plan to host a head-to-head between Mr Cameron and Ed Miliband remains unchanged. The broadcasters said the debates would go ahead regardless of whether any party leader refused to take part. "The party leaders will be formally invited to take part in these debates. In the event that any of the invited party leaders decline to participate, debates will take place with the party leaders who accept the invitation," they said in a joint statement."
In case any readers are interested-I will not be watching any of them.
Op-Ed: Money makes the World go around, especially the World of politics.
Western politics may proudly claim to uphold the ideals of a free and fair democracy but sometimes you are left questioning how true that is in reality.
A New Statesman report that Lord Oakeshott has given £300,000 to 30 Labour parliamentary candidates in order to "help save our country from a Tory government cringing to Ukip" raises mixed feelings.
The report also says that "[Lord] Oakeshott, a multimillionaire property investor, who now describes himself as a "non-party social democrat", has also donated £300,000 to 15 Lib Dem candidates, including eight MPs, and £10,000 to Green MP Caroline Lucas.
In May 2014 Oakeshott resigned from Lib Dem politics after he was accused of commissioning polls which indicated senior Lib Dems would lose their seats to the Tories in the 2015 General Election. The poll results were then leaked to the media.
As the plot within the Liberal Democrats to remove Nick Clegg from power were revealed we noted that politics can be a dirty business and a transitory affair.
One more Lib Dem politician stabbing Clegg in the back was the Coalition's business secretary Vince Cable. Once news of the polls was public however Cable tried to distance himself from the affair issuing a statement condemning Oakeshott's actions as "reprehensible".
Mr Clegg remained convinced that Cable was not involved in the plot to oust him but contradictory evidence stacked up against Cable.
The Business Secretary was fully aware of the polls, according to Oakeshott. He apparently told Cable "several weeks ago" about damaging polls which suggested that the party is facing a wipeout in the general election in 2015.
Mr Cable however kept silent on the matter. He did not share any information provided by Oakeshott with Mr Clegg. Cable came clean only after the polls were leaked to the press.
Deputy PM Nick Clegg, the man at the heart of that earlier plot quickly went from a political king maker hailed a hero to one of the most hated political figures in the UK at this time.
Oakeshott has probably assessed Lib Dem election chances accurately.
Clegg still dreams of another coalition government with the Lib Dems and himself of course as part of the equation.
Perhaps the Liberal Democrats would do better without Clegg but then they would also need to ditch Danny Alexander who smirks alongside Chancellor Osborne in the Commons.
But back to the moneyThe Tories election campaign coffers are full to the brim with money and donations. Those who have riches beyond most people's wildest dreams have a vested interest in a Tory win.
The Tories have been raising money to persuade the electorate to re-elect them to government. They will be able to outspend Labour and other political parties easily.
That does not mean they will win but it could.
Slick campaigns and more resulted in President Barack Obama securing a second-term in office in the USA against the odds. The Mitt Romney GOP campaign far outspent Obama's but in the end Romney was toast.
Oakeshott has an ambiguous political background; a political chameleon.
He has stood as a Labour candidate but also for the SDP, Social Democrat party, before throwing his ambitions in with the Liberal Democrats.
A British investment manager he like so many current British politicians hails from a privileged background.
The fact he can donate more than £600,000 to various political parties indicates he has money to burn but also that he has no real political allegiances.
He hopes Labour and other parties will garner enough votes to trounce the Conservatives and UKIP preventing them from forming a right-wing coalition.
But whether we agree with his view or not news that our future government is being bought, paid for and manipulated behind the scenes will not restore faith in western democracy or politics.
Deals with money changing hands will be going on behind closed doors across the country.
Tactical voting and political funding is in the spotlight once more.
Oakeshott's UKIP Tory fears lie in Europe and his business interests. He told the New Statesman:
Britain stands on the edge of a cliff with the general election only 105 days away. Will we vote Tory or Ukip for Euro referendum chaos, lasting two years at least and putting thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and our long term peace and security at risk?