After four days on the run, terror suspect Daniel Khalife was finally apprehended on Saturday 9 September on a canal towpath, around ten miles away from Wandsworth Prison, where he had escaped earlier in the week.
Undercover police are understood to have been tipped off and pulled Khalife from a bicycle and wrestled him to the floor in the Chiswick area of North London, at around 11am, in full view of many members of the public.
The 21-year-old, who is accused of terror offences and spying, has been taken back into police custody, although it is unclear at this stage whether he will be returned to Wandsworth, or moved to a more secure prison.
Huge response from public
His re-arrest came after the Met Police had announce more than 100 calls had been received with confirmed sightings of the escapee in the Chiswick area overnight. Armed officers had been stopping and checking cars, inspecting car boots and carrying out identification checks on local residents. Police dog handlers were called in and a police boat could be seen on the River Thames very close to the roads.
Commander Dominic Murphy, the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism chief, said the terror suspect “was fully co-operative when being handcuffed and arrested.” Mr Murphy added: “In terms of the investigation, it really gathered momentum yesterday afternoon, with a number of calls from the public, but really took a different course last night.”
Highly likely to have been aided
He was eventually tracked to a canal path and upon his arrest he was dressed in a t-shirt, shorts and trainers, and had with him a sleeping bag, change of clothes, bottle of water and a cool bag appearing to contain food.
That immediately suggests assistance has been given to him during his time at large. Witnesses said a plain-clothes policeman shouted: “Don’t move or we’ll shoot” and his reaction was to laugh and wink at passers-by.
It comes after a false alarm for police, who swooped on an innocent member of the public at an Oxfordshire train station two days earlier. The man was questioned for 20 minutes before being allowed to go on his way after being forced to give his fingerprints. He seemingly was something of a look-alike, and had prompted calls from concerned travellers.
Khalife is believed to strapped himself to a food delivery vehicle which was leaving Wandsworth prison before vanishing. He had been working in the kitchen of the Category B prison at the time.
Met chief Sir Mark Rowley believes that the escape was carefully planned and not just a case of opportunism. He said: “The fact he could strap himself onto the bottom of the wagon, means there is obviously some logistics involved.”
PM offers thanks
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is currently in New Delhi attending the G20 summit, said he was “very pleased” to hear of the capture, and praised efforts by the police and the public in finding him.
He remarked: “It’s good news that we captured the person concerned. As people already know, the Justice Secretary has initiated an inquiry into the circumstances of his escape and that work will continue, but obviously this is very welcome news and my thanks go out not only to the police, but also to the public for their valuable help.”