A soldier who was awaiting trial after being accused of planting fake bombs at a Ministry of Defence base has escaped from prison, triggering a manhunt.
Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, went missing from Wandsworth prison around 8 a.m. on Wednesday, and the Metropolitan Police have urged members of the public not to approach him.
Khalife was wearing a white T-shirt, red-and-white chequered trousers, and brown boots with steel toecaps at the time.
He is described as six feet two inches tall, slim, and with short brown hair, and is known to have links to the Kingston-upon-Thames area.
Cmdr. Dominic Murphy, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command said, “We have a team of officers who are making extensive and urgent enquiries in order to locate and detain Khalife as quickly as possible.”
“However, the public can help us as well and should anyone see Khalife, or have any information as to where he might be, then please call 999 immediately,” he added.
Police: ‘No … Threat to Wider Public’
Cmdr. Murphy said: “I also want to reassure the public that we have no information which indicates, nor any reason to believe that Khalife poses a threat to the wider public, but our advice if you do see him is not to approach him and call 999 straight away.”
Khalife, who last appeared in court at the Old Bailey in late July, was due to go on trial in November at Woolwich Crown Court, a high-security court which has a tunnel linking it to Belmarsh prison.
Khalife was arrested in January 2023 and charged in connection with an incident at RAF Stafford’s Beacon Barracks, a Ministry of Defence base in the Midlands.
He later appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and was accused of building a device made of “three cannisters with wires on a desk in his accommodation,” with the intention of inducing in another to believe it was “likely to explode or ignite and thereby cause personal injury or damage to property.”
He was also accused of eliciting or trying to elicit information that could be useful to a terrorist on Aug. 2, 2021, and breaching the Official Secrets Act by gathering information which could be useful to an enemy between May 1, 2019 and Jan. 6, 2022.
When he appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court in February, the chief magistrate Paul Goldspring told him: “These matters are very serious. If you are convicted, you are going to face a prison sentence in years not months.”
Khalife is not the first prisoner to escape from Wandsworth, a category B prison which is surrounded by houses.
Ronnie Biggs Escaped From Wandsworth
In July 1965 Ronnie Biggs, one of the Great Train Robbers, escaped from Wandsworth prison using a rope ladder to get over the wall and dropping onto a furniture van waiting outside for him.
Biggs remained a fugitive for 36 years, eventually flying back in 2001 and spending the remaining 12 years of his life in prison.
Prison escapes today are a rarity. In the 1970s, ’80s, and early ’90s they were far more common and often provoked great political embarrassment.
In 1980 London gangster Jimmy Moody escaped from Brixton prison along with his cellmate, Provisional IRA man Gerard Tuite. Moody remained on the run until he was shot dead in a pub in Hackney in 1993.
In 1983 more than 30 Provisional IRA prisoners escaped from the Maze prison after commandeering a food delivery van at gunpoint.
In 1995 the then-Home Secretary Michael Howard sacked Prison Service chief Derek Lewis after six inmates—including four IRA men—escaped from a Special Secure Unit at Whitemoor prison in Cambridgeshire in September 1994.