‘Most Wanted’ Escaped Prisoner, A British Ex-Soldier, Caught

(Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

John Oyewale Contributor
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A former British soldier charged with espionage and terrorism who escaped from a London prison Wednesday was caught Saturday, authorities said.

Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, escaped His Majesty’s Prison (HMP) at Wandsworth at about 7:50 a.m. local time Wednesday, the UK’s Metropolitan Police (Met) said in a statement. He appeared to have escaped by strapping himself to the underside of a food delivery van which left the prison that morning but freed himself before the police located and searched the van less than an hour after the escape, the police said.

The police engaged the public in the nationwide manhunt and promised a £20,000 (almost $25,000) reward for information leading to his recapture. Khalife was reportedly spotted Friday walking away from the food delivery van at Wandsworth Roundabout, about 1.5 miles from the prison.

The police eventually homed in Saturday on Chiswick, about 7.5 miles from the prison, following intelligence and confirmed sightings. They apprehended him on a towpath in Northolt, a town near Chiswick and nearly 15 miles from HMP Wandsworth, at 10:41 a.m. local time Saturday. A plainclothes officer spotted him on a pushbike on the towpath and pulled him off it, Commander Dominic Murphy, Head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). (RELATED: Doctoral Student Built Bomb-Carrying Drone, Filled Out ISIS Application, Prosecutor Claims)

Khalife was charged with escaping Sunday and will face the charge Monday at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the Met said.

Meanwhile, a widely viewed video emerged of a 19-year-old teenager, Horatio Castille, being arrested Thursday at a train station in what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. “A woman mistook me for Daniel Khalife, and alerted the police. After about 20 mins of questions (and some gd banter) i proved I wasn’t the escapee after a finger print scan,” Castille later tweeted.

Khalife, a Briton with paternal Lebanese heritage, was an athlete in his school days before joining the British Army. He was being held on charges of collecting military information that could be used in terrorism, staging a bomb hoax and collecting and sending information to an enemy, reportedly Iran, per the BBC.