How terror suspect Daniel Khalife escaped prison: Police reveal route taken by van that prisoner 'tied himself to'

7 September 2023, 19:44 | Updated: 7 September 2023, 20:39

Police have traced the route the van Khalife hid under took
Police have traced the route the van Khalife hid under took. Picture: Metropolitan Police

By Jenny Medlicott

This is the route a prison food van took after it unknowingly left HMP Wandsworth with escaped prisoner Daniel Abed Khalife on board.

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Police launched a large scale manhunt for Daniel Abed Khalife on Wednesday, who was awaiting trial on terror charges, after he escaped Wandsworth prison, leaving ports and airports currently on high alert.

Khalife is believed to have escaped prison by tying himself to the underside of a Bid Food vehicle using makeshift straps.

It is thought he was working in the kitchen of HMP Wandsworth in South London when he rolled under the delivery van and held on as it drove out of the jail on Wednesday morning.

The Metropolitan Police has now released the route the van took as it departed from the prison, when Khalife is believed to have been holding on to the underside of the vehicle.

Daniel Khalife's route out of the prison

The van left the prison at 07:32 on Wednesday taking a right out of the gates onto Heathfield Road, where the prison is located.

It turned left onto Magdalen road, before turning left again onto Trinity Road (A214) and travelling up to Wandsworth Roundabout.

Here, the van took the first exit onto Swandon Way, then turned left onto Old York Road - past the Wandsworth Town station.

Here it took a left onto Fairfield Street, followed by a right onto Wandsworth High Street. It then travelled straight onto West Hill before reaching Upper Richmond Road.

This is the route the van took while Khalife was holding on.
This is the route the van took while Khalife was holding on. Picture: Google Maps

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

A photo of the van Khalife left on has also been released by police, as detectives have asked anyone who spotted the vehicle on Wednesday morning to come forward.

It comes after the escaped solider, who has been accused of spying and terror offences, was described by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command boss as “ingenious” and resourceful thanks to his military training.

There have been no confirmed sightings of Khalife, who was awaiting trial for gathering information useful to an enemy, despite officers receiving more than 50 calls from the public.

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

Daniel Abed Khalife
Daniel Abed Khalife. Picture: Handout

How Daniel Abed Khalife's prison escaped unfolded

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 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

Read More: Police launch manhunt after soldier accused of terror offences escapes from jail 'by hanging underneath delivery van'

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."

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