Former soldier Daniel Khalife may have used bedsheets to tie himself to a truck when he escaped from Wandsworth Prison, a court has heard.
The 21-year-old appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court this morning after arriving in armoured police van, as six Met Police officers guarded the gate.
Following extensive searches across London and other parts of the UK, Khalife was arrested on Saturday after a plainclothes police officer knocked him off his bike on a canal towpath in Northolt, West London.
Khalife had been on remand at HMP Wandsworth charged with trying to spy for an enemy state – believed to be Iran – and planting fake bombs at his barracks near Stafford when he broke out last Wednesday.
After strapping himself to the bottom of a food delivery lorry, he clung on until he was a short distance away from the prison before running off.
A massive four-day manhunt led to disruption at airports and on motorways across the country as police said his military ‘ingenuity’ would make him hard to catch.
However, Khalife was eventually recaptured only around eight miles from where he had last been seen by a member of the public.
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Flanked by two police officers and one dock officer, Khalife entered the courtroom this morning wearing a grey jumper and jogging bottoms.
Prosecutor Thomas Williams said the 21-year-old is accused of ‘using the strap to support himself to escape’.
He has been remanded in custody.
The brazen escape has led to concerns over the state of security at Wandsworth and other prisons around the country.
Questions have also been asked over whether Khalife, an ex-British Army soldier accused of serious terror offences, should have been held at high-security Belmarsh Prison instead.
The day after Khalife was captured, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said that around 40 inmates of the Category B prison in South London have been moved out.
He told Sky News: ‘Out of an abundance of caution some prisoners there, some of those on remand, have been moved (this week).
‘Additional resources have of course gone into Wandsworth, so there is additional governor support, a former governor with particular expertise in security.
‘But also, out of an abundance of caution, around 40 prisoners have been moved just while we get to the bottom of what took place in Wandsworth. That is a sensible, precautionary measure.’
The Mail on Sunday reported Khalife will be transferred to Belmarsh Prison following his capture.
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