Two prison guards suspended and 40 inmates moved out of Wandsworth as cops hunt Daniel Khalife accomplices

10 September 2023, 11:35

Some 40 inmates have been moved from Wandsworth prison
Some 40 inmates have been moved from Wandsworth prison. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Two prison guards have been suspended and around 40 inmates have been moved out of Wandsworth prison after Daniel Khalife escaped.

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Khalife, who is accused of terror offences and spying, fled Wandsworth prison on Wednesday morning.

He was on the run for four days before police caught him in the Chiswick area. An investigation is now being carried out over the incident.

Cops are hunting down any potential accomplices that may have helped the former soldier escape and two guards at Wandsworth have been suspended, according to the Mail.

They are understood to have both been involved in overseeing the exit of the Bid Food catering vehicle - which Khalife is believed to have climbed under to break out - from the prison grounds.

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk told LBC: "In order to ensure that the situation in Wandsworth is given all the possible resource and support, there is additional governor support - somebody who is a former governor with specific security expertise - on site and in place.

"In addition there is further HMPPS, so prison service resource and support.

"And out of abundance of caution, we’ve ensured that around 40 prisoners have been reallocated to other parts of the estate just while we get to the bottom of the investigation."

Read more: 'Don't move or we’ll shoot': Terror suspect Daniel Khalife 'laughed and winked' after being arrested in Chiswick

Andrew Castle is joined by Secretary of State for Justice Alex Chalk KC | Watch Again

Undercover police pulled Khalife off a bicycle and wrestled him to the floor just before 11am in the Chiswick area on Saturday.

A plain-clothes officer shouted “Don’t move or we’ll shoot” after catching the 21-year-old, who responded by laughing and winking at passers-by, according to the Sun.

Khalife, who is currently in police custody, was riding the bicycle on a canal towpath around ten miles away from HMP Wandsworth in Greenford.

Dressed in a t-shirt, shorts and trainers, the ex-soldier also had with him a sleeping bag, change of clothes, bottle of water and a cool bag appearing to contain food.

He was arrested on suspicion of being unlawfully at large, and taken to a west London police station, where he was further arrested on suspicion of escaping lawful custody.

Read more: Who is Daniel Khalife and what did he do? Everything you need to know about the soldier turned terror suspect

It comes after the Met said there had been several confirmed sightings of him in the area overnight.

Officers had been in the area all morning - stopping and checking cars, inspecting car boots and asking residents for their IDs.

Armed officers and police dogs walked the streets while a police boat could be seen on the River Thames close to the roads.

Taxi driver leaves Sangita Myska speechless after he claims taxis are used to transfer prisoners

The Met offered a £20,000 reward on Friday for anyone with information that led to the arrest of the former soldier, with detectives receiving more than 100 calls.

The force thanked the public for their support throughout the manhunt. Around 100 people called the Met Police tip-line in the four days that Khalife was at large.

Khalife is believed to have used strapping to attach himself to the bottom of a van that left Wandsworth prison before vanishing on Wednesday morning.

Daniel Khalife arrested

He had been working in the kitchen of the Category B prison when he made his escape.

Met chief Sir Mark Rowley told LBC that the jailbreak was carefully planned ahead of time and not opportunistic.

Sir Mark told Nick Ferrari that Khalife's escape was "clearly pre-planned".

"The fact he could strap himself onto the bottom of the wagon, there’s obviously some logistics involved.

"Just to work out a prison escape, and how you can do the logistics of it and get the right equipment, and how you’re going to do it, it’s unlikely to be something you do on the spur of the moment."

Khalife fled prison on Wednesday morning
Khalife fled prison on Wednesday morning. Picture: Social media

PM Rishi Sunak said he is "very pleased" Khalife had been arrested, as he praised efforts by the police and the public in finding him.

Speaking at the G20 summit venue in New Delhi, he said: "I'm very pleased with the news and my thanks to the police officers for their fantastic work over the past couple of days, but also to the public who came forward with an enormous number of leads to help the police in their inquiries.

"It's good news that we captured the person concerned. As people already know, the Justice Secretary has initiated an inquiry into the circumstances of his escape and that work will continue.

"And this is obviously very welcome news. And again, my thanks to the police but also to the public for their help."

Policing minister Chris Philp echoed Mr Sunak's statement, congratulating police for their "rapid and effective" work to apprehend the fugitive.

"Great work by the Met Police. Well done for a rapid and effective piece of work to catch this fugitive," he said.

"An example of policing at its best. Congratulations to all Officers involved in this operation."

It comes after a false alarm for police, who swooped on an innocent 'look-a-like' at an Oxfordshire train station on Thursday.

The man was questioned for 20 minutes before giving his fingerprints to prove that he was not the escapee.

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