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Daniel Khalife – live: Suspect used bed sheets to strap himself to van in Wandsworth prison escape, court hears

Daniel Abed Khalife appears before Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with escaping from prison

Namita Singh,Lydia Patrick,Matt Mathers
Monday 11 September 2023 23:10 BST
Escaped terror suspect Daniel Khalife arrested in west London

Daniel Khalife used a material that may have been from “bed sheets” to strap himself to the underside of a van when he escaped from prison last week, a court has heard.

Khalife appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday after being captured and charged with escaping from prison. He was remanded in custody.

The suspected terrorist was arrested on a canal towpath in west London at 10.41am on Saturday after being pulled off a push bike by a plain-clothes counter-terrorism officer.

His detention brought a dramatic end to a 75-hour nationwide land and air manhunt after Khalife went missing from the prison on Wednesday.

Prior to his alleged escape, Khalife was on remand at HMP Wandsworth after being charged with terror offences in January.

The incident has highlighted inadequacies in the condition of the facility, with the chief inspector of prisons calling for it to be shut down.


Prison population gone over 88,000, says chief inspector

Chief inspector of prisons Charlie Taylor told the BBC the prison population has gone over 88,000.

He said: “If you go back to the mid 1990s, when actually crime was much higher than it is now, our prison population was half what it is, or pretty much half what it is today. I think it was around 40 to 44,000 and it’s now gone up to over 88,000.

“The projections are that it will go up even further and the problem is if it goes up even further what that means is more prisoners sharing cells that were designed for one person, continuing to use these old battered, crumbling vermin infested Victorian jails, which would make fantastic museums or flats but really are not fit for purpose for the 21st century.

“But also that there aren’t enough staff in place to be able to unlock prisoners and actually to begin to do the things with prisoners that are actually going to help them to not offend when they come out.

“Prisons have got a public protection duty to keep people locked up when they’re inside, but they also have a public protection duty to make sure that they put in place the things that mean that when someone leaves prison, they’re less likely to reoffend.”

Tara Cobham10 September 2023 09:56

Inmates moved out of Wandsworth Prison after Khalife escape

Around 40 inmates of HMP Wandsworth have been moved out of the Category B prison after terror suspect Daniel Khalife’s escape, the Justice Secretary has said.

Justice Secretry Alex Chalk said on Sunday that the preliminary findings of his investigation into the ageing London jail have found that the relevant procedures and security staff were in place.

But he said dozens of individuals on remand have been moved to different sites “out of an abundance of caution” amid questions over why a former soldier accused of a terror offence was not in the highest security prison.

Sam Blewett reports:

Inmates moved out of Wandsworth Prison after Daniel Khalife escape

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said the move has been made out of an ‘abundance of caution’

Tara Cobham10 September 2023 09:58

Khalife ‘had help’ to escape, says former prisons minister

Terror suspect Daniel Khalife would have received some sort of “collusion and support” to aid his escape, a former prisons minister has said.

Former Tory MP Rory Stewart also said that prisons in England and Wales are “unmanageable”.

Asked if he would have resigned if the escape happened during his tenure, he told Sky News: “I definitely think that it’s important for ministers to take full responsibility.

“There are 120 prisons in England and Wales. There were escapes on my watch…for the first few days, you’re just trying to work out what on earth happened – how did this happen? And the story changes, as you can imagine, minute by minute. You have to get on the ground in Wandsworth and talk to the governor.

“In this particular case, it seems clear if he had strapping underneath this vehicle, that there was some kind of collusion and support. But it’s also clear that they seemed to spend, I don’t know, half an hour/45 minutes before they even noticed he was gone from the kitchen, and he shouldn’t be in the kitchen in the first place.”

Mr Stewart added: “The bigger issue is the prison population, these prisons are totally unmanageable. And the main thing that I was trying to do when I was in government is reduce the prison population.”

Tara Cobham10 September 2023 10:16

Recap: Soldiers reveal what Khalife is really like

The soldier facing terrorism and espionage charges who escaped from prison claimed to be a survivalist and went on solitary overnight camping expeditions when off-duty, according to former colleagues who knew him.

Daniel Abed Khalife boasted that he would join a signals unit of Special Forces and was preparing for the entry requirements. There is, however, no evidence of him officially embarking on this path. Former soldiers who knew him say that he was viewed as “ a bit of a fantasist” , but someone “ who took his fitness seriously”.

Two former soldiers in the Royal Corps of Signals described 21 year old Khalife as someone seeking attention and sometimes “ playing the clown” to do so. They recall an incident in which he stole a senior officer’s epaulettes, put them on his uniform, and wanted to post photos on social media wearing them.

Kim Sengupta reports:

The vain survivalist: Soldiers reveal what Daniel Abed Khalife is really like

The former soldier had serving at a military base in Stafford before he was arrested on terrorism charges

Tara Cobham10 September 2023 11:45

Police ‘pivot’ investigation to looking at whether Khalife had help

The Metropolitan Police said it is now “pivoting” its investigation towards looking at whether Daniel Khalife had any help with his escape from Wandsworth Prison following the terror suspect’s arrest yesterday.

Commander Murphy said: “Our priority following Khalife’s escape was to find him and bring him back to custody, which, thanks to the help of the public, and the excellent work by our officers, we have achieved. We are now pivoting our investigation towards the circumstances of his escape and whether there may have been any other persons involved and that investigation continues.”

Tara Cobham10 September 2023 12:14

Timeline of Khalife’s escape from Wandsworth Prison and eventual arrest

Terror suspect Daniel Khalife has been arrested on the fourth day of a manhunt after he escaped from HMP Wandsworth underneath a lorry.

The 21-year-old was arrested just before 11am on Saturday in Northolt, west London, and is now in police custody, the force said.Officers descended on Chiswick with police dogs in tow after "intelligence-led activity" and confirmed sightings from members of the public in the area overnight.

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

Here is a timeline of the events leading to the capture of Khalife:

Timeline of events around capture of escaped terror suspect Daniel Khalife

The search for the 21-year-old has finally ended on its fourth day

Chris Stevenson10 September 2023 13:00

Daniel Khalife charged by police after escaping Wandsworth prison

The Metropolitan Police said Daniel Khalife, 21, will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday after being charged with escaping custody at HMP Wandsworth in London.

Khalife was arrested on Saturday morning on a towpath near Rowdell Road in Northolt.

He is charged with escaping custody on September 6 while on remand at Wandsworth pending trial at the Old Bailey, contrary to common law.

The Metropolitan Police said Daniel Khalife, 21, will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday (AP)
Tara Cobham10 September 2023 13:30

Full Met Police statement on charging Khalife

Daniel Khalife has been charged with escaping custody at HMP Wandsworth, the Metropolitan Police has said.

In a statement, the force said:

A man who was arrested after escaping from HMP Wandsworth has been charged.

Daniel Abed Khalife, 21 (27.09.01) will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 11 September charged as follows:

On the 6th day of September 2023, then being a prisoner in his Majesty’s prison at Wandsworth, being remanded in custody pending trial as ordered at the Central Criminal Court on the 21st day of July 2023, escaped, contrary to common law.

Khalife was arrested on a towpath near Rowdell Road, Northolt on Saturday, 9 September following a policing operation led by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.

He was charged on Sunday, 10 September.

Metropolitan Police
Tara Cobham10 September 2023 14:26

Questions raised over security of Wandsworth Prison

Questions have been raised over the security of the prison following the police manhunt.

On Sunday, the Justice Secretary said around 40 inmates of HMP Wandsworth have been moved out of the Category B jail.

Alex Chalk told Sky’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips programme that a preliminary investigation into London’s Victorian prison had found that the relevant procedures and security staff were in place.

But he said dozens of individuals on remand have been moved to different sites “out of an abundance of caution” amid questions over why a former soldier accused of a terror offence was not in the highest security prison.

Tara Cobham10 September 2023 14:58

ICYMI: The Anarchy inside Wandsworth jail where inmates call the shots

Daniel Khalife broke out of Wandsworth jail in on Wednesday leaving major questions to be answered about the facility’s security.

Speaking exclusively to the Independent, the chief inspector of prisions Charlie Taylor reveals a critical situation of overcrowdedness, squalor and vermin.

He also spoke of insuffiecient staffing levels and inexperienced workers who are ‘fresh out of school. Inmates are often locked in their cells for 22 hours a day with no access to education and training, according to Mr Taylor.

An inspection last year found that 30 per cent of prison officers were unable to perform their duties, with the incessant influx of drugs causing high levels of violence.

Mr Taylor said: “Prisoners will not be unlocked on time because there is nobody to do it. They will not get to education or employment because there is nobody to escort them. They will not have clean clothes or bedding. The demand, and thus the supply, of drugs will rise, and with it an illicit economy that leads to debt and to violence.”

Read the full story here:

Anarchy revealed inside prison-break Wandsworth jail where inmates call the shots

Ex-soldier suspected of spying for Iran belonged to British regiment dealing with ‘highly sensitive’ communications for key Nato reaction force, The Independent understands

Lydia Patrick10 September 2023 15:57

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