Today brought fresh details, images and a timeline of events of the escape of prisoner Daniel Khalife from Wandsworth prison.
Over 150 officers are now on the hunt for the terror suspect, we learned earlier, we received a timeline outlining how the escape unfolded, and we brought you a video showing the escaped prisoners presumed route.
Khalife was declared missing at 7.50am – around 20 minutes after the van left the prison at 7.32am.
The Met was notified of his disappearance at 8.15am and took “immediate action” to track down the food delivery van.
At 8.37am, officers stopped the van in Upper Richmond Road, near the junction with Carlton Drive.
They spoke to the driver and carried out a search, which revealed strapping on the underside of the van.
It’s believed Khalife was hiding underneath the van and used this strapping as part of his escape.
We also received an image and video of the Bidfood van which appears to have been involved in the escape. The chief inspector of prisons exclusively told Sky News that Wandsworth prison was should be “shut down” as it is not fit for purpose due to critical staffing issues, structural problems and a number of other concerns. Finally, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk announced an independent inquiry into the escape, which is to include two urgent reviews – the first focusing on the “placement and categorisation” of inmates, and the second to investigate people in custody currently charged with terror offences.
Khalife likely aided by his military training, lawyer says and Helicopter follows route taken by delivery van
As a former soldier, Daniel Khalife’s military training would likely have aided his escape from prison, a criminal defence lawyer has said.
Paul Britton, founder of Britton and Time law firm, told Sky News there is “no doubt” that Khalife would have been trained in how to escape if ever caught by an enemy.
“He’s probably monitored the movements of guards and vehicles and how the system works from from the inside out and he’s used that to his advantage,” he explained.
Mr Britton said he “very much doubts” that Khalife could have carried out the escape alone.
The Met Police earlier revealed the route a delivery lorry took after leaving Wandsworth prison.
Officers believe Daniel Khalife strapped himself to the vehicle in order to escape.
Watch the journey being retraced in this aerial helicopter footage,
CCTV footage has been released of the Bidfood delivery van searched by officers in relation to Daniel Khalife’s escape.
In the footage, the van is travelling along Upper Richmond Road in Putney, not far from Wandsworth prison.
A separate video of the van on the same road after being stopped by police has been published by London Face TV.
Whole criminal justice system is in meltdown, and The questions that need answering after prisoner escape
Daniel Khalife’s break out from Wandsworth prison strapped to the bottom of a delivery van has sparked a wider conversation about whether the prison system is fit for purpose.
Former Wandsworth inmates have told Sky News about the “chaos” they saw while serving time there, and have given their opinions about what may have led to the escape being allowed to happen.
Some suggested staffing shortages contributed, while one said many gate staff tend to be inexperienced.
Speaking about the manhunt and the state of our prisons on Sky News this evening, Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association, said the service has been “vandalised” by budget cuts.
He also said the eight-week training period for prison officers is “inadequate”.
Referring to an earlier suggestion that there may have been junior staff working on the gates when Khalife escaped, Mr Gillan said: “We’ve got absolute confidence in young staff, but I’m afraid they haven’t been nurtured along because [the government] got rid of all the experienced staff way back… with a massive redundancy.”
He said prison workers are not being given adequate resources to do their jobs and said it is akin to “asking a mechanic to build an engine with a hammer and chisel”.
“I’ve got nothing but praise for young officers coming into a broken system… the whole criminal justice system is pretty much in meltdown.”
Police have been combing the country for escaped prisoner Daniel Khalife, to no avail yet.
His escape from Wandsworth prison has sparked a number of questions which are still unanswered.
Here’s just a few that have been raised since his disappearance:
Why was Khalife not in a maximum-security prison?
Khalife was awaiting his trial in HMP Wandsworth, a category B jail in southwest London built 170 years ago and described in a watchdog report two years ago as “overcrowded, crumbling, vermin-infested”.
Mark Leech, editor of the Prisons Handbook for England and Wales, told Sky News Khalife “may well have given the impression to inexperienced staff who conducted his security categorisation that he was far less of a security escape risk than in reality he really was”.
Why was he allowed to work in the kitchen?
Former prison governor John Podmore said he was “astonished” that Khalife, a terror suspect, was assigned a job in a “vulnerable area” such as a kitchen.
It’s easier to escape from there than anywhere else in jail, he said, and kitchen jobs are usually reserved for the most trusted inmates.
Former inmate David Shipley also told Sky News that putting Khalife in the kitchens was a “crazy failure”.
Was the escape pre-planned, and did he get any other help?
Police have not given any more details or theories on this, but have indicated that it’s a line of investigation.
There have been no arrests or interviews under caution in connection with the escape.
Mr Podmore also told the BBC there was a “possibility” it was an inside job.
Did staffing shortages contribute?
The chief inspector of prisons, Charlie Taylor, told Sky News’ Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge that a lack of staffing at Wandsworth may have been why Khalife was able to escape.
Mr Shipley said the issue was so bad while he was there that the jail was sometimes “unable to maintain a basic regime” such as offering inmates showers and exercise.
Lack of staff may have allowed Khalife to get out, says prisons watchdog
The chief inspector of prisons, Charlie Taylor, has told Sky News’ Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge that staffing is a key issue in the prison system – and lack of staff at Wandsworth may have been why Daniel Khalife was able to escape.
He said staffing has been a “huge concern in our recent inspections of that jail and actually a number of other jails around the country”.
Without enough staff, there is “always a danger that people will drop the ball and make a mistake”, he added.
Mr Taylor said when he inspected Wandsworth prison two years ago, “30% of staff were unavailable for full duty”, which means that “some of the basics just don’t get done”.
He added that Wandsworth prison was built 170 years ago and it is “in a real state”, not designed to hold so many prisoners.
Daniel Khalife’s prison escape will “count against him” when he is found, according to a former security minister.
Baroness Neville-Jones, chair of the UK’s joint intelligence committee, told Sky News the suspected terrorist “has to be found” and there is “no option”.
“This will count against him without question,” she added.
Asked what will be going on now in the corridors of the UK’s security services, Baroness Neville-Jones said officers will be following leads on what connections Khalife has, where he could go for help and “what they know about his antecedents”.
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