Daniel Khalife pleads not guilty to escaping Wandsworth prison

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Terror suspect Daniel Khalife has denied escaping from HMP Wandsworth where he was on remand awaiting trial.

The former soldier appeared via videolink at the Old Bailey on Thursday, 12 days after he was arrested on a canal towpath in Northolt, west London on September 9 following a nationwide manhunt.

Police said the 21-year-old was cycling along the path when a plain clothes counter-terror officer spotted him and pulled him off his bicycle.

Mr Khalife appeared in court on Thursday via video link from a segregated unit at maximum security prison HMP Belmarsh wearing a bright blue and yellow sweatshirt.

Asked to enter a plea to the charge of escaping custody, Mr Khalife replied: “Not guilty”

He was seen exhaling while leaning back in his chair during the brief hearing and tapping a radiator.

Mr Khalife is accused of escaping HMP Wandsworth on 6 September by strapping himself under a food delivery truck using a material which was “made from bedsheets with clips at each end”.

The former member of the Royal Signals, who was based at Beacon Barracks in Stafford, is understood to have been working in the kitchen at the prison at the time.

The barracks are home to the Royal Corps of Signals 1st Signal Brigade, the Defence Electronics Agency, the RAF Joint Helicopter Command’s Tactical Supply Wing, and No 22 Group Air Force cadets.

Mr Khalife described his role on social media as being a computer specialist with skills including information technology and system administration.

It is understood he was raised in Kingston upon Thames, south-west London.

Mr Khalife was awaiting trial on charges of allegedly obtaining information useful to the enemy, eliciting information about members of the armed forces contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000, and perpetrating a bomb hoax.

He denied those charges at a previous hearing at the Old Bailey in July.

At the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker joined the charges and Mr Khalife will now be tried at Woolwich Crown Court on November 13 for all four offences.

Mr Justice Baker said: “Daniel Khalife, you are due for trial on 13 November at Woolwich Crown Court…

“Obviously it will be in your best interest to cooperate with those who are instructed by you, your solicitors and counsel.

“In the meantime, I am going to remand you in custody.”

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