Daniel Khalife is suspected of having collected intelligence that could be used by terrorists or enemies of the United Kingdom. Police believe he escaped from prison Wednesday in a delivery truck.
His escape from a London prison embarrasses the authorities: the search for a former British soldier prosecuted for “terrorist offence” continues this Friday.
Daniel Khalife’s unnoticed escape aboard a delivery truck sparked a nationwide manhunt and sparked shock and questions about the prison system.
The 21-year-old is suspected of having collected intelligence that could be used by terrorists or enemies of the United Kingdom. According to several media, including the BBC, he is suspected of having acted for the benefit of Iran.
“Daniel Khalife will be found and will face justice,” Justice Minister Alex Chalk told the deputies.
Help inside the prison?
According to the unfolding of events made public by the authorities, the inmate’s absence was reported almost 20 minutes after a vehicle left London’s Wandsworth prison on Wednesday at around 7.30am local time, after making a delivery for the kitchens . Straps were found under the vehicle, suggesting he became attached to it. Police shared a photo of what they suspect to be the truck in question:
London Metropolitan Police Chief Mark Rowley confirmed on Friday morning that a search was underway in Richmond Park, south London, a large green space near Wandsworth.
Speaking on LBC radio, he assured that the police would “examine everything in their investigation”. “Did he do this on his own? Did someone inside the prison help him? Did someone outside help him?”, he asked himself in particular. The leak was “clearly prepared in advance,” said Mark Rowley.
“Planning an escape, how to handle the logistics, getting the right gear, and figuring out how to do it…it’s unlikely to be something you do on a whim,” he insisted.
The security of the prison in question
Faced with the multitude of questions raised by this escape, the Minister of Justice announced several investigations into the level of security of this prison and the decision to imprison Daniel Khalife there.
Labor MP Rosena Allin-Khan denounced in Parliament the inadequate and dangerous working conditions of prison staff in this establishment, citing insufficient numbers. The opposition questions the presence in this reputedly dilapidated prison dating from the 19th century, and not in a high security establishment, of this inmate prosecuted for charges relating to national security.
Prosecuted for terrorism offense
Daniel Khalife is being prosecuted for acts dating back to January and August 2021, on a Royal Air Force base in Strafford, in central England. He is accused of having obtained or attempted to obtain information “about an individual who was or has been a member” of the British army, “likely to be of use to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism” .
He is also being prosecuted for a false bomb threat on January 2. He denies the accusations against him.
“It is extremely rare for anyone to escape from prison, but what is more serious is that this is a prisoner charged with a terrorist offence,” the chief inspector of prisons admitted to the BBC. Charlie Taylor.
A lack of staff
He pointed out that Wandsworth Prison was of particular concern because of understaffing, which reached 30% of staff when last checked two years ago.
Downing Street rejected any government responsibility for staffing issues, claiming to have hired 4,000 people for the prison system since 2017 and planning 5,000 additional posts, in addition to investments to open 20,000 places for prisoners.
For fear of seeing the fugitive leave the country, security was reinforced at airports and ports, leading to the temporary closure of exits from the motorway in the south-east of England which leads to the cross-Channel port of Dover, allowing in particular to join France.
Source: BFM TV