Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

How Daniel Khalife was able to evade police for 76 hours before being caught

Daniel Abed Khalife: CCTV shows BidFood van in Wandsworth

After a frantic manhunt, Daniel Khalife has been captured by police in Chiswick, West London, after his escape from Wandsworth prison on Wednesday.

It took authorities a total of 76 hours to find Khalife, who was being held at HMP Wandsworth on terrorism charges, but he managed to make the 5.5-mile journey to Chiswick from HMP Wandsworth before he was eventually found.

Survival experts have weighed in on the former British Army signaller’s methods for escape and potential thoughts behind his plan after fleeing the prison.

Speaking exclusively to, Darren Parkin, who has helped with the British Army outdoors training, believed the first thing an escapee would have done is rush to the expanse of British Woodland.

Police had previously confirmed they searched Richmond Park in south-west London for signs of the escaped prisoner.

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Commenting on a level of basic training Khalife would have been familiar with, Mr Parkin said: “His first priority would be to head to an expanse of woodland at this time of year, it’s utterly ideal as you’ve still got leaves on trees.

“If you know what you’re looking for, have the knowledge, in an expanse of woodland, it would be easy to survive right through to mid-autumn before risking exposing his position.”

CCTV footage showed the moment police believe the prisoner was clinging to the bottom of a food delivery truck on Wednesday, September 6, via the prison kitchen.

The Metropolitan Police said they had recovered a pair of straps on the delivery truck, leading them to believe he had strapped himself to the bottom.

Police later confirmed they believed Khalife was “hiding underneath the van and used this strapping as part of his escape”.

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John Podmore, who governed Belmarsh and Brixton Prisons told the World At One the kitchen area where Khalife was believed to have been working before he escaped is a “vulnerable area”, which may have meant it was targeted by the prisoner.

Mr Podmore explained: “It is a very vulnerable area. It’s where, as we’ve seen, vehicles keep coming in and out and goods come in and out on a regular basis. You choose who goes there very carefully.”

A former inmate, Chris Jones, 52, speaking to BBC London, also shared his view on the vulnerabilities of the staff kitchen.

Mr Jones explained: “I’m not surprised that someone slipped up, or that they didn’t have enough people to staff the kitchen, and that he took his chance to unload the truck and vanish underneath the lorry.”

An independent report published in September 2022 about the prison warned “appropriately skilled” staff at the prison would be essential.

The report said: “With an increasing number of more volatile young prisoners, and incidents of violence at alarming levels, the recruitment, training, and retention of appropriately skilled and well-motivated staff is essential.”

Towards the end of the 76-hour manhunt, a huge police presence was visible in Chiswick, West London, indicating officers were finally closing in on their man.

Officers descended on the area after receiving tip-offs from locals overnight, and police were checking cars and asking residents for IDs. He was arrested at around 11am on September 9, five miles away from the scene of his dramatic jailbreak.

Since the terror suspect’s arrest, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he is “very pleased” and has praised efforts by the police and the public in finding him.

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