Daniel Khalife pleads not guilty to escaping from prison while facing terrorism charges

The 21-year-old was recaptured after a four-day manhunt

Court artist sketch of Daniel Khalife. PA
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Former soldier Daniel Khalife has pleaded not guilty to escaping from prison, where he was being held after he was charged with terrorism offences.

The 21-year-old appeared via video link from HMP Belmarsh at the Old Bailey to deny the charge.

Mr Khalife, who was wearing a blue and yellow sweatshirt, said: “I am not guilty.”

He is accused of escaping from prison on September 6 by strapping himself to the underside of a food delivery vehicle.

Mr Khalife was arrested on a canal towpath in west London at 10.41am on September 9 after being pulled off a bicycle by a plain-clothes counter-terrorism officer.

He was being held in prison ahead of trial on offences relating to terrorism and the Official Secrets Act.

Mr Khalife is accused of trying to pass information during his time working for the Royal Corps of Signals, which handles sensitive communications, and is accused of leaving hoax bomb devices at a military base in Stafford, West Midlands, near the army barracks where he lived.

His disappearance resulted in mass land and air search aided by the security services.

Mr Khalife was brought up in west London with his twin sister by a single mother who was born and raised in Iran.

After gaining a “handful” of GCSEs he dropped out of school and joined the army aged 18 in 2019, then served for four years before the investigation which resulted in his discharge in May.

He is understood to have only visited Iran twice as a young child – where his grandmother was a primary schoolteacher and his grandfather an accountant.

Updated: September 21, 2023, 10:50 AM