Freed mercenary calls for Mark Thatcher to 'face justice'

Simon Mann, the Eton-educated mercenary who was imprisoned for plotting a coup in west Africa, arrived back in Britain today and called for Mark Thatcher to “face justice” over his alleged involvement in the ill-fated conspiracy.

A day after he was released from the notorious Black Beach prison in Equatorial Guinea following a pardon from the oil-rich country’s president, the 57-year-old former SAS soldier landed at Luton airport on board a private Falcon 900 jet to be reunited with his wife and seven children, including his youngest son, Arthur, who was born after his arrest in 2004.

Mann is expected to be interviewed “very soon” by Scotland Yard detectives conducting an investigation into claims that part of the planning for the plot to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema was conducted in London, and therefore could have broken British terrorism laws.

The British soldier’s premature release, just 15 months into a 34-year prison sentence imposed last summer, is widely considered to have been linked to his testimony during his trial that the bungled coup’s organising team included Sir Mark, son of the former prime minister Baroness Thatcher, and Ely Calil, a London-based businessman with interests in oil. Both men, who issued statements welcoming Mann’s release, have consistently denied claims they were involved in the plot.

Before leaving Equatorial Guinea, whose 500,000-strong population has seen little improvement in living standards despite the discovery of their country’s huge oil wealth in the 1990s, Mann said he would be happy to appear in a British court as a prosecution witness to testify against Sir Mark and Calil.

He said: “I am very anxious that Calil, Thatcher and one or two of the others should face justice.” Mann was visited three times in Black Beach by officers from the Yard’s counter-terrorism command as part of their investigation, but it is not yet clear whether he is being treated as a witness or a potential defendant.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “We can confirm we are investigating whether any offences may have been disclosed in this country. We are aware of developments but are not prepared to discuss them further.”

Mann, who was due back at his £5m Hampshire mansion last night, said he was “extremely grateful” to Obiang – who has been described by a British judge as presiding over a regime that routinely uses torture – for his release and the way in which he had been treated.

As well as receiving meals cooked at a nearby hotel and a weekly phone call to his sister, the Briton had an exercise bicycle in his cell and regularly lunched with his host country’s security minister.

In a statement, Mann said: “I regret what happened in 2004. It was wrong and I’m happy that we did not succeed. I am extremely grateful not only for my pardon but the way in which I’ve been treated from the moment I arrived in Equatorial Guinea.”

It emerged yesterday that his supporters had paid £200,000 as part of negotiations to secure Mann’s release, conducted in London in August and September at a series of meetings at the Ritz hotel and the Equatoguinean embassy in St James’s. The sum was agreed to cover the “expenses” of officials after initial demands for a £270m settlement were dropped by the Obiang regime.

Mann said: “This is the most wonderful homecoming I could ever have imagined. There hasn’t been a moment during the last five and a half years when I have not dreamt of one day being back in Britain with my family.”

Suggested Topics
News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
News
Jennifer Lawrence at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in February 2014
people12 undisclosed female victims are seeking $100m in damages
Voices
4 May 2013: The sun rises over Tower Bridge in London. Temperatures across the UK could be higher than several European holiday destinations by Monday, including parts of Italy and France (Andy Hepburn/PA)
voices
News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
News
Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert
newsRetailer breaks with tradition, selling real festive fir trees online for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Horowitz will write the next 007 novel
booksAnthony Horowitz to write new instalment in spy series for 2015
News
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
people
Sport
Kicking on: Nathaniel Clyne is relishing the challenge of the Premier League after moving from Crystal Palace
footballSurprises include a first ever call-up for one Southampton star
News
news
Voices
Anthony stopped due to the lack of step free access at Mansion House
voices
Travel
Blue Ghost Fireflies in Brevard, North Carolina. Blue Ghost fireflies are unique because they stay lit and only hover about a foot off the ground.
Photo Location: Brevard, North Carolina
travelGallery: The winner of National Geographic's photo contest receives $10,000
News
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients
science

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Advisor - East Anglia - Field-based

£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: To be considered for this position you will n...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: We have opportunities for Cov...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to tea...

Digital Fundraising Analyst/Web Analyst - West Sussex - Permanent - £30k DOE

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?