Daniel Khalife: First sighting of escaped prisoner investigated
The Metropolitan Police are currently investigating a reported sighting of the escaped terror suspect Daniel Khalife. According to a witness, Mr. Khalife was spotted in the vicinity of the Wandsworth roundabout on Wednesday morning, moving away from the food delivery van he had used as his means of escape from HMP Wandsworth.
To encourage assistance from the public, the Met has announced a reward of up to £20,000 for any information that directly leads to his apprehension.
Mr. Khalife, a 21-year-old individual, stands accused of attempting espionage on behalf of an enemy state, believed to be Iran, and conspiring to orchestrate a false bomb threat.
The delivery van had come to a halt near the southern entrance of the roundabout, situated at the top of Trinity Road when a member of the public alerted authorities to Mr. Khalife emerging from beneath the vehicle. Subsequently, he was observed heading in the direction of Wandsworth town center, as indicated in the police statement.
This sighting represents one of the crucial leads that the Metropolitan Police is currently pursuing as part of their investigation. Commander Dominic Murphy, who heads the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, disclosed that the police have received around 100 calls from the public, and the Wandsworth Roundabout sighting could potentially hold significant importance.
Commander Murphy also emphasized the ongoing pace and dynamism of the investigation while assuring the public that a substantial number of officers are diligently working to locate and apprehend Mr. Khalife.
He said his message to the suspect was to hand himself in: “We will be closing in on you, Daniel, You really need to come in and give yourself up.”
Cdr Murphy added that efforts were being focused on London but would also look at other parts of the UK as the investigation developed.
The Met has also opened its UK Image Appeal website, allowing members of the public to submit any images and videos that are relevant to the investigation.
Mr Khalife is described as slim, 6ft 2in (1.9m), with short brown hair.
Police say there is no reason to believe he poses a threat to the public, but urged people not to approach him and instead call 999.
Mr Khalife – who joined the British Army in 2019 – is thought to have clung to the underside of a delivery lorry to make his escape from HMP Wandsworth in London.
Detectives believe he was still wearing his prison-issue cook’s uniform when he slipped out of the category B jail on Wednesday.
Some 150 Met Counter Terrorism Command officers have been deployed in the search since Khalife was declared missing at 08:15 BST.
A search took place on Thursday night into the early hours of Friday in Richmond Park, south-west London – just 2.8 miles (4.6km) from the prison.
BBC News was told it was not based on any specific lead or intelligence, and search efforts have been scaled back.
The Met said it had been able to clarify the route taken by the delivery lorry as it left the prison, following new CCTV inquiries.
“After exiting Wandsworth roundabout onto Swandon Road, the van remained on the road until turning left onto Fairfield Street,” the force explained.
Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said the force was exploring the possibility the former soldier was helped by other prisoners or guards.
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said an independent investigation will take place following the escape.
It will run alongside reviews looking at the categorisation and placement of all HMP Wandsworth prisoners, and all those in custody charged with terrorism offences.