Fugitive Daniel Khalife snared by cops ending massive four-day manhunt

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    The former soldier suspected of terror offences who escaped from prison has been caught.

    Officers arrested Daniel Khalife at about 11am today (September 9) in Chiswick on the fourth day of a nationwide manhunt after the escapee slipped undetected out of HMP Wandsworth on a delivery truck on Wednesday morning (September 6).

    A statement by Met Police read: "Metropolitan Police officers have arrested Daniel Khalife, who escaped from HMP Wandsworth on Wednesday.

    "Officers apprehended him just before 11:00hrs today, Saturday 9 September, in the Chiswick area, and he is currently in police custody.

    "We would like to thank the public and media for their support throughout our investigation to locate Khalife and we will provide a further update on his arrest in due course."

    Khalife, 21, is accused of gathering information which would be "useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" and leaving a fake bomb at a military base.

    He was awaiting trial at HMP Wandsworth in London when he strapped himself underneath a food delivery van at the prison, still wearing the chef's uniform he sported while working in the prison kitchen.

    The jail was put on lockdown after he fled and a "national incident" was declared, plunging UK airports and the Port of Dover into chaos.

    His disappearance sparked a frantic nationwide manhunt which saw police close off Richmond Park in London and tighten security controls across the country.

    Home Office minister Chris Philp congratulated police for their "rapid and effective" efforts to find the runaway.

    Taking to social media, the policing minister said: "Great work by the Met Police. Well done for a rapid and effective piece of work to catch this fugitive.

    "An example of policing at its best. Congratulations to all Officers involved in this operation."

    Khalife was discharged from the British Army in May 2023 after allegedly planting a fake bomb at an RAF base and gathering information that might be useful to terrorists or enemies of the UK.

    He is accused of eliciting or trying to elicit information that could be useful for a terrorist on August 2, 2021 as well as breaching the Official Secrets Act by gathering information that could be useful to an enemy between May 1, 2019 and January 6, 2022.

    He appeared at the Old Bailey in late July where he denied the charges against him. His trial is due to start at Woolwich Crown Court on November 13.

    Science Secretary Michelle Donelan said an investigation is "underway" into why Khalife was being held at Wandsworth, a Category B prison, rather than Category A Belmarsh.

    "It’s not as black and white, is my understanding, as to what category somebody under arrest for those types of crimes should be in," she told Times Radio.

    "In general, it’s no secret that prison capacity has been an issue, one that we are tackling."

    Professor Ian Acheson, a former head of security at Wandsworth, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Khalife’s escape was "at best" a "catastrophic system failure".

    "I’m afraid to say that Wandsworth, like so many of our flagship prisons, is in freefall," he added.

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