Metropolitan Police Arrest Terror Suspect Daniel Khalife 3 Days After Prison Break

The police believe Mr. Khalife escaped from a Category B prison by strapping himself under a food delivery lorry.
Metropolitan Police Arrest Terror Suspect Daniel Khalife 3 Days After Prison Break
An undated image of Daniel Abed Khalife, who escaped from Wandsworth prison in south London on Sep. 6, 2023. (Metropolitan Police)
Lily Zhou

Suspected terrorist Daniel Abed Khalife was arrested on Saturday morning, three days after he escaped from prison, the Metropolitan Police said.

Mr. Khalife, 21, a former army network engineer, had escaped from HMP Wandsworth in south London on Wednesday morning. The police believe he pulled off the prison break by strapping himself under a food delivery lorry.

After a manhunt that lasted a little over three days, The Met said officers apprehended Mr. Khalife just before 11 a.m. on Saturday in the Chiswick area.

“He is currently in police custody,” the statement reads. “We thank the public and media for their support with info [and] appeals.”

Mr. Khalife has been awaiting a six-week trial set for November after being accused of planting a fake bomb at a military base in Stafford and collecting information that might be useful to terrorists or “an enemy” of the UK.

A CCTV image of the lorry that Daniel Khalife hid under to escape from Wandsworth prison in south London on Sep. 6, 2023. (Metropolitan Police)
A CCTV image of the lorry that Daniel Khalife hid under to escape from Wandsworth prison in south London on Sep. 6, 2023. (Metropolitan Police)

Three Charges

Mr. Khalife was a computer network engineer with the British Army’s Royal Corps of Signals.

After he escaped from prison on Wednesday, a British Army spokesperson confirmed he had been discharged on May 22 after being held on remand for charges against him.

Mr. Khalife was charged in January with two offences including one under the Terrorism Act 2000.

He was accused of eliciting or attempting to elicit information “about an individual who was or had been a member of His Majesty’s forces which was of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism” on Aug. 2, 2021.

He was also charged over a “bomb hoax” in January this year at his accommodation at the Beacon Barracks, home to several signal regiments.

Mr. Khalife allegedly placed “three cannisters with wires at RAF Stafford with the intention of inducing in another a belief that the said article was likely to explode or ignite and thereby cause personal injury or damage to property,” contrary to section 51 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

In July, a third charge was brought against him under the Official Secrets Act over an alleged “act prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state.”

The accusation was that he had “obtained, collected, recorded, published or communicated to any other person articles, notes, documents or information which were calculated to be or might be or were intended to be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy” between May 1, 2019, and Jan. 6, 2022.

Mr. Khalife denies all three charges.

The Escape

Mr. Khalife is believed to have escaped from prison on Wednesday morning under a food delivery lorry. The lorry left the Category B prison at 7:32 a.m.,Mr. Khalife was declared missing at 7:50 a.m. and the police were notified at 8:15 a.m., and officers stopped the van in Upper Richmond Road and found strapping underneath.
The details of how he managed the stunt are still under investigation. Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has said the escape appeared to be  “clearly pre-planned” and Mr. Khalife may have had help.

Police officers spent Thursday night searching Richmond Park, which is not far from the prison and close to Mr. Khalife’s hometown of Kingston-upon-Thames.

On Friday, more than 150 officers and staff led by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command joined the search, and a reward of up to £20,000 was offered for information leading to Mr. Khalife’s arrest.

On Saturday morning, the Met said officers were focusing their efforts in and around the Chiswick area “after intelligence-led activity and some confirmed sightings in that area overnight, including calls from members of the public.”

After Mr.Khalife was re-captured on Saturday, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said he would leave “no stone unturned” in the investigation into how the prison escape had happened.

Writing in The Independent, His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor called HMP Wandsworth “one of the most squalid, overcrowded prisons in the estate.”

The victorian-era prison, which is mostly used to hold remanded prisoners who are waiting for their trials, has been “holding more than 1,500 prisoners—600 more than its original capacity,” he wrote.

The chief inspector also said the prison has been suffering a staff shortage problem, leading to “experienced prisoners frequently complain[ing] that they have to tell new staff what they are supposed to do.”

PA Media and Chris Summers contributed to this report.