How suspected terrorist Daniel Khalife escaped HMP Wandsworth 'on back of food truck'

7 September 2023, 08:22 | Updated: 7 September 2023, 11:39

Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, fled from HMP Wandsworth in south-west London on Wednesday
Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, fled from HMP Wandsworth in south-west London on Wednesday. Picture: Handout/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A nationwide manhunt is under way for Daniel Abed Khalife, who was awaiting trial on terror charges, after he escaped from Wandsworth prison 'on the back of a food truck'.

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Police launched a large scale manhunt Khalife on Wednesday, with ports and airports currently on high alert.

HMP Wandsworth, which is considered to be one of the most overcrowded prisons in the UK, is a category B jail, holds around 1,300 inmates.

Questions have been asked about how Khalife was able to escape from the prison - but how exactly did it unfold?

How Daniel Abed Khalife's prison escaped unfolded

Daniel Abed Khalife
Daniel Abed Khalife. Picture: Handout

Alleged offences

Khalife was charged with two offences on January 27 after an investigation by the Met's Counterterrorism Command.

He is also accused of a bomb hoax after allegedly putting "three canisters with wires" on a desk in January this year.

Khalife was a serving member of the army at the time but was discharged in May.

He denies all three charges and was due to appear in court in November.

Working in the kitchen moments before escape

Khalife was working the kitchen at HMP Wandsworth in the moments before his escape.

He is believed to have been wearing a chef's uniform at the time.

Prison escape happened at 7.50am 'on back of food truck'

Khalife escaped from the kitchen by holding on the back of a food truck's straps at 7.50am on Wednesday, it is understood.

He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, red and white chequered trousers and brown steel toe cap boots.

He is described as being around 6ft 2ins, of slim build and with short brown hair.

Read More: 'Staggering lapse in security': Questions over why terror suspect wasn't in max-security prison as manhunt continues

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HMP Wandsworth
HMP Wandsworth is a Category B prison. Picture: Alamy

Additional security checks at UK airports and ports

Following his escape, all UK airports and ports were alerted to Khalife's escape.

Additional security checks have been taking place at Heathrow and Gatwick.

"Heathrow is operating as normal," a spokesperson for the airport said.

"However, due to additional security checks being carried out, waiting times for departing passengers may be longer than usual."

Search enters second day

The nationwide search for Khalife has entered its second day.

The public has been warned to stay away from the suspected terrorist and alert the authorities should you see him.

He has links to Kingston upon Thames, London, but may have left the capital.

Police have been stationed near his family home in Richmond upon Thames, south west London.

Nick Ferrari is joined by Michelle Donelan

Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the Metropolitan Police Counterterrorism Command, said: "We have a team of officers who are making extensive and urgent enquiries in order to locate and detain Khalife as quickly as possible.

"However, the public can help us as well and should anyone see Khalife, or have any information as to where he might be, then please call 999 immediately.

"I also want to reassure the public that we have no information which indicates, nor any reason to believe that Khalife poses a threat to the wider public, but our advice if you do see him is not to approach him and call 999 straight away."

Michelle Donelan said that the prison escape should not be "politicised" as the hunt for Khalife continues.

"We've always said that the prison estate needs an upgrade and we need to expand the capacity," she told LBC.

"But I don't think that we should draw a parallel between the two things here. It is extremely rare for a prisoner to escape. "In fact, I think there's been five escapees in several years.

"It is extremely rare. It's unacceptable, but it is rare.

"We shouldn't politicise the topic, really. We should look at exactly what has happened and then how can we deal with that to ensure it doesn't happen again."