Thatcher pained by son's arrest.

Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher returned home to London yesterday from the United States, after a close associate told of her distress over the arrest in South Africa of her son.

Mark Thatcher, 51, was taken into custody in Cape Town on Wednesday on suspicion of helping to finance an alleged coup bid in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, on Africa's west coast.

Baroness Thatcher, 78, refused to comment on her son's arrest as she entered her central London home after flying in from the US, the domestic Press Association news agency reported.

She was surrounded by at least five armed bodyguards as she was helped out of a Jaguar car and went into her home.

One of her close advisers, Tim Bell, told Channel Four television yesterday that she was "obviously distressed about the fact her son appears to be in some difficulty".

"She is very confident about the South African legal process and she is sure he will be cleared and named innocent at the end of it," Lord Bell said.

South Africa said yesterday Equatorial Guinea had made no move to seek the extradition of Mark Thatcher.

[Source: Daily News, Usa, 28Aug04]

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