LONDON – British police searched a huge London park on Friday for an ex-soldier who escaped from prison while awaiting trial on terrorism charges.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed that the search of Richmond Park in the city’s southwest, involving two helicopters and officers on the ground, was linked to the hunt for Daniel Abed Khalife. The 21-year-old slipped out of Wandsworth Prison on Wednesday morning while working in the kitchen, apparently by holding on to the underside of a food delivery van, police said.
Khalife is accused of planting fake bombs at a military base and breaching Britain’s Official Secrets Act by gathering information “that could be useful to an enemy.”
He was discharged from the British Army after his arrest earlier this year and had denied the allegations. His trial is scheduled for November.
His escape has prompted additional security checks at airports and at the port of Dover, the main ferry port from England to France. However, activity was concentrated in Richmond Park, 2,500 acres (1,000 hectares) of woodland and grassland about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from Wandsworth Prison. The park is home to more than 630 red and fallow deer that have roamed free since 1637.
Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism commander Dominic Murphy said there had been no confirmed sightings of Khalife since his escape and described the prisoner as “very resourceful”.
“He was a trained soldier – so ultimately he has skills that some parts of the public may not have,” Murphy said.
Opposition politicians wanted to know how Khalife managed to escape from the medium-security prison and why he was not held in a maximum-security facility. The Conservative government has announced that there will be an independent investigation.
The Met’s top cop, Commissioner Mark Rowley, said the prison escape was “clearly pre-planned” and may have been an “inside job”.
He told LBC radio: “Did anyone help him in prison? Other prisoners, guards? Was he helped by people outside the walls, or was it all just his own creation?”
https://torontosun.com/news/world/police-search-huge-london-park-for-terrorism-suspect-who-escaped-from-prison Police officers search London park for terror suspect who escaped from prison