Politics, Europe

Police offer $25,000 reward for information leading to arrest of ex-UK soldier escaped from prison

Daniel Abed Khalife was held at HMP Wandsworth in southwest London awaiting trial for terrorism, Official Secrets Act violations

Burak Bir  | 08.09.2023 - Update : 08.09.2023
Police offer $25,000 reward for information leading to arrest of ex-UK soldier escaped from prison


The Metropolitan Police on Friday announced a reward of up to £20,000 (approximately $25,000) for information leading to the arrest of a former soldier suspected of terror offenses who escaped from a London prison.

Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, who was accused of planting fake bombs at a military base, was held at HMP Wandsworth in southwest London awaiting trial for terrorism and Official Secrets Act violations.

He was believed to be working in the prison kitchen and wearing a chef's uniform while escaping from the prison on Wednesday.

"The Met is offering a reward of up to £20,000 (some $25,000) for information that leads to the arrest of Daniel Abed Khalife, as detectives investigate a sighting of him near Wandsworth Roundabout," the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Police have also launched a "UK Image Appeal" website, where people can submit any relevant imagery and video directly to the investigation team.

"This remains a fast-paced and dynamic investigation, but I want the public to know that a large number of officers are working extremely hard to locate Khalife," said Dominic Murphy, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command.

He noted that they have received more than 100 calls about the case from the public.

"The sighting near Wandsworth Roundabout could be very significant, and this is one of many useful lines of enquiry that officers are perusing," he added.

More than 150 officers and staff are involved in the operation to find Khalife, who escaped via the prison kitchen by strapping himself to the bottom of a food delivery van.  

'Clearly pre-planned'  

Earlier, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley told LBC television that they are looking into the possibility that the ex-soldier was assisted by other prisoners or guards.

The escape was "clearly pre-planned, the fact that he could strap himself onto the bottom of the wagon," he said, adding that it was "unlikely to be something you do on the spur of the moment."

Police officers made a search overnight at Richmond Park, London's largest park, which included police helicopters.

Meanwhile, the incident has also sparked criticism about how an ex-soldier terror suspect was placed in a Category B jail.

According to the government chart, these are "either local or training prisons."

Charlie Taylor, the chief inspector of prisons, told Sky News that HMP Wandsworth, from which Khalife escaped, "really needs closing."

In his report last year, he touched on "squalid" living conditions, overcrowding, and understaffing at HMP Wandsworth.

The prison should be closed "in an ideal world," but this is not possible due to the current "crisis" in prison facilities, Taylor added.

"There are only just enough places available at the moment for prisoners coming in," he explained.

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