Escape and Alert The search for a man who managed to escape from HMP Wandsworth while awaiting trial for terrorism-related offenses has entered its second day, raising questions about the circumstances surrounding his escape. The fugitive in question is Daniel Abed Khalife, a 21-year-old former British Army soldier who was on remand at the Category B prison, facing charges related to terrorism and the Official Secrets Act.
Intricate Escape Khalife’s escape from HMP Wandsworth has garnered attention due to its complexity. He was reportedly working in the prison kitchens, disguised in a chef’s uniform, and ingeniously managed to evade custody by attaching himself to the underside of a food delivery van.
Widespread Police Hunt This escape has triggered a widespread police hunt, prompting heightened security measures at ports and airports throughout the UK. Consequently, reports of delays have emerged from various locations, including Heathrow airport, Manchester airport, and the Port of Dover.
Escape Timeline Scotland Yard indicates that Khalife absconded from the prison, one of the largest in the UK, at around 7.50am. At the time of his escape, he was dressed in a white t-shirt, red and white checkered trousers, and brown steel toe cap boots. Khalife, standing at approximately 6 feet 2 inches tall with short brown hair and a slim build, has connections to the Kingston area. Authorities believe he may still be in the London vicinity but have not ruled out the possibility of him traveling elsewhere.
Public Assistance Sought Law enforcement officers are urging anyone with information that could aid in locating Khalife, even if it does not pertain to a recent sighting, to come forward. At a previous hearing in July, it was alleged that Khalife had accessed details of soldiers from MoD personnel files, which could be “useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.” Khalife faced charges under the Official Secrets Act and a related bomb hoax incident.
Immediate Action Encouraged Members of the public encountering Khalife are advised not to approach him but to dial 999 immediately and reference CAD 1631/06SEP23. Commander Dominic Murphy, Head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, emphasizes the urgency of the situation and the need for collective vigilance.
Security Concerns and Government Inquiry Justice Secretary Alex Chalk held an “urgent call” with the prison governor and senior prison service officials to seek assurances about prison security. HMP Wandsworth, a Category B prison with the second-highest level of security, was placed on lockdown following Khalife’s escape. The opposition Labour Party has called for the Government to provide an explanation for the escape. The Prison Service is working closely with the Metropolitan Police to recapture Khalife and investigate the circumstances surrounding his escape.
Impact on Court Proceedings The escape has also disrupted court hearings for other defendants who were on remand at HMP Wandsworth. An MoD spokesman revealed that Khalife had been discharged from the Army on May 22, 2023, as a result of being held on remand. His trial was scheduled for November 13 at Woolwich Crown Court.