Manhunt ends with capture of Khalife in Chiswick

Daily news Law and Justice

The terror suspect who escaped from HMP Wandsworth on Wednesday sparking a nationwide manhunt and debate about prison conditions has been arrested in London.

Former solider Daniel Abed Khalife, aged 21, was captured today (September 9) in the Chiswick area of west London.

Khalife absconded from Wandsworth jail where he was being held on terrorism charges by clinging to the underside of a delivery van.

In a statement the Metropolitan police said they arrested him shortly before 11am this morning and added: “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.”

The manhunt caused travel chaos at ports and airports with extra checks resulting in delays for passengers and cargo transport.

Met police yesterday offered a £20,000 reward “for info leading directly to the arrest of Daniel Khalife.” Detectives investigated a sighting of him still dressed in his prison kitchen uniform near Wandsworth roundabout, about two miles from the prison.

More than 150 officers and staff from the Met’s counter terrorism team were involved in the manhunt, liaising with other forces and colleagues from across the Met.

Speaking from the G20 summit in Delhi, prime minister Rishi Sunak said: “I’m very pleased with the news and my thanks to the police officers for their fantastic work over the past couple of days, but also to the public who came forward with an enormous number of leads to help the police in their inquiries.”

Sunak added: “This is obviously very welcome news. Again, my thanks to the police but also to the public for their help.”

During the course of the four day manhunt questions have been raised as to why a terror suspect charged with a crime against the state – believed to be spying for Iran – was being held at a category B prison such as HMP Wandsworth.

Justice secretary Alex Chalk has ordered a report into whether Khalife was properly categorised and if the former soldier should have been held in a high security category A prison such Belmarsh.

Chalk today thanked “the police and partners for their comprehensive efforts over recent days,” adding: “I am also grateful to staff across HMPPS (HM Prison and Probation Service) for their continued focus and professionalism.

“With Daniel Khalife now in custody, the legal process must be allowed to take its course. Nothing should be said or done to prejudice any future trial.

“The investigations I requested into prison security and categorisation are well in train, and I will leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of how this serious breach was possible.”

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper thanked police and intelligence teams for their efforts in successfully ending the manhunt but demanded answers from the government into how the terror suspect managed his escape.

Cooper called the arrest “very welcome news” and added: “Now we need answers about how on earth a prisoner charged with terror & national security offences could have escaped in this way.”

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