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Thursday, April 15, 1999 Published at 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK


Misery for Pinochet neighbours

General Pinochet's police guard is upsetting the neighbours

General Pinochet likes to watch the movie Deep Impact at home in Surrey - and he has had a similar effect on his stress-ridden neighbours.

The pinochet File
They told the BBC's Dominic Arkright those nearby to him on the Wentworth Estate live in constant fear of terrorism and cannot even sell their properties.

"The man is guarded 24 hours a day and the house is floodlit at night so they feel very much on display," said Barry Hughes, chairman of the estate's roads committee.

"The police will search the garden and come in with tracker dogs and probes looking for explosives."

[ image: Protesters hold demonstrations every weekend in Lindale Close]
Protesters hold demonstrations every weekend in Lindale Close
Protesters take the bus out to Wentworth most Saturdays to shout and bang drums on the estate, adding to the problems.

"Suppose someone wants to sell their house? The house is unsaleable - no-one's going to buy it while he's in residence," said one man.

But the general himself is not exactly in the lap of luxury.

Dominic Arkright talks to the dismayed neighbours
"When we read about it being a rambling mansion we're quite amused, because it's really a 1960s executive-style house - it's smaller than mine," said a neighbour.

Although the £10,000-a-month Everglades has four bedrooms and two bathrooms, the General has to share it with several policemen.

"At night you are sleeping and six metres from you you have four or five police watching TV, so there is very little privacy," said his campaign organiser Fernando Barros.

Meanwhile the general tries to have as stress-free a life as possible.

He spends his days reading, surfing the Internet and watching videos - another favourite is the blockbuster disaster movie, Titanic.

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15 Apr 99 | World
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