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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific