The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Mark Rowley, has said suspected terrorist Daniel Khalife’s escape from prison was “clearly pre-planned” and may have been an inside job.
A former soldier—he was discharged from the British Army in May—Mr. Khalife had been awaiting trial accused of planting a fake bomb at an RAF base in Staffordshire and gathering information which might be useful to terrorists or enemies of the UK.
It has been reported he was allegedly working for Iran.
Police officers spent Thursday night searching Richmond Park, which is not far from Wandsworth prison and close to Mr. Khalife’s hometown of Kingston-upon-Thames.
On Friday morning Sir Mark confirmed Mr. Khalife was still “on the loose” and said the prison escape was “extremely concerning.”
Questions have been asked about why Mr. Khalife—who had been working in the prison kitchen and was wearing a cook’s uniform, including distinctive red and white checked trousers—was being housed in a category B prison, rather than a high-security category A prison like Belmarsh.
Doubts Over ‘Spur of the Moment’ Decision to Escape
Sir Mark said the escape was “unlikely to be something you do on the spur of the moment.”
He told LBC, “It is clearly pre-planned, the fact that he could strap himself onto the bottom of the wagon.”
Asked if it was possible the escape was an “inside job,” Sir Mark said: “It is a question. Did anyone inside the prison help him? Other prisoners, guard staff? Was he helped by people outside the walls or was it simply all of his own creation?” he replied.
Police have released an image of the Bidfood lorry Mr. Khalife escaped under, in the hope of jogging the memories of people who may have seen it or something suspicious in the Wandsworth area on Wednesday.
It is known the lorry left Wandsworth prison at 7:32 a.m. on Wednesday, he was declared missing at 7:50 a.m. and the police were notified at 8:15 a.m.
The lorry was stopped on Upper Richmond Road, near to the junction of Carlton Drive in Putney, at 8:37 a.m. but there was no sign of Mr. Khalife, who had presumably fled on foot when the lorry was stationary.
Foreign Secretary Declines to Comment on Whether Khalife Will be Caught
The foreign secretary, James Cleverly, was asked on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” programme if he thought Mr. Khalife would be recaptured but he replied: “We do have fantastic security services and police services. I don’t think it would be useful or credible for me to speculate. The important thing is that we let the