Daniel Khalife: Police search Richmond Park as urgent hunt for terrorist suspect enters third day

Police hunting for escaped terror suspect Daniel Khalife have been searching a London park overnight just a few miles from the prison he absconded from.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that officers had been in Richmond Park, although they refused to rule out the possibility that Khalife had left the country or had outside help to escape from prison.

The park is just over four miles from HMP Wandsworth, where the former soldier, accused of gathering intelligence for Iran, went missing in his cook's uniform on Wednesday.

Strapping was found on the underside of a Bidfood delivery vehicle which police stopped just over an hour after it left the prison, with officers suggesting Khalife held on to the underside of the lorry to escape.

His disappearance has prompted questions over staffing levels at HMP Wandsworth and why he was being held in a Category B prison.

The Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism commander said it is “testament to the ingenuity” of the 21-year-old that there have been no confirmed sightings since he escaped prison.

Dominic Murphy said he was keeping an “open mind” as to whether Khalife had received support from somebody to escape prison and whether he had managed to leave the country.

In a press briefing on Thursday, Mr Murphy said: “This was a really busy area of London and we’ve had no confirmed sightings in any of that information, which is a little unusual, and perhaps testament to Daniel Khalife’s ingenuity in his escape and some of his movements after his escape.

“He was a trained soldier – so ultimately he has skills that perhaps some sections of the public don’t have.

“He’s a very resourceful individual, clearly, and our experience of him shows that, so nothing is off the table with him at the moment.”

The lorry Khalife is believed to have strapped himself into left HMP Wandsworth at 7.32am on Wednesday. He was reported missing at 7.50am.

Police were called at 8.15am and the lorry was stopped at 8.37am on Upper Richmond Road, near the junction with Carlton Drive.

CCTV footage later emerged of the lorry driving along a London road after leaving the prison.

The Justice Secretary has confirmed that an independent investigation will take place following Khalife's escape.