Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

Wandsworth locals say prisoner escapes 'happen all the time'

Residents of the London borough where terror suspect Daniel Abed Khalife escaped from prison have spoken of their fears that the former British Army soldier could be ‘hiding in their gardens’.

Khalife, 22, was still wearing his red chef’s trousers when he slipped out of HMP Wandsworth in south-west London – after clinging to the underside of a food delivery truck around 7.50am on Wednesday, September 6.

People living close to the category B prison said although police have deemed Khalife is deemed ‘low-risk’, they still fear he could be dangerous.

Sheila Harting, 49, a support worker who lives close to the jail, told she is in disbelief over the situation.

‘I still can’t believe that anyone would be able to escape from there, it is quite incredible,’ she said.

‘It’s scary, and it makes you think if he could do it then what is there to stop others who are even more dangerous than him doing it.

‘I’ve lived here for a good few years and it does happen quite often but this feels different.’

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She added: ‘Who knows where he might be hiding, I just hope the police manage to catch him soon.’

Richard Mbuesi, 52, said he was at work yesterday when Khalife escaped and only heard the news when he returned home last night.

He lives just a stone’s throw away from the prison, telling Metro: ‘When you hear something like this has happened it does make you worried. I know I live close to a prison but you don’t think anyone will actually escape.

‘He could be anywhere right now and that is what I am worried about.’

Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, vented frustration over the ongoing manhunt.

‘Why haven’t the police caught him yet? I can’t believe he has actually got out,’ he said.

‘You hear about stories of prisoners trying to escape but you don’t think it will ever happen.’

He added: ‘Why wasn’t he in a more secure jail, we’ve had Boris Becker in here, it’s hardly the toughest prison in the world but he tried to kill people with a bomb, he shouldn’t have been in there.’

Margaret Small, 73, who lives on nearby Loxley Road said she was worried that Khalife could be hiding in her garden.

She told Metro: ‘How did this happen? I’m not even sure if I should be at home, I hope he isn’t anywhere near here. He could be in our garden sheds, you just don’t know where he could be hiding.’

However not all residents feel the same anxiety about a terror suspect on the loose.

One resident said: ‘If anyone escapes prison the best place to be is surely living next door to the prison. Have you ever heard of a prisoner staying nearby after they have escaped? They will surely want to get as far away as possible.

Another added: ‘I’ve lived here a long time and there’s lots of breakouts, I’m used to this.

‘There was a helicopter out last night, but this time it feels like a different type altogether and it sounds like he shouldn’t have been there.’

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