Terror suspect Daniel Khalife has been arrested on the fourth day of a manhunt after he escaped from HMP Wandsworth underneath a lorry.
The 21-year-old was arrested just before 11am on Saturday in Chiswick, west London, and is now in police custody, the force said.
Officers descended on Chiswick with police dogs in tow after “intelligence-led activity” and confirmed sightings from members of the public in the area overnight.
Rishi Sunak said he is “very pleased” Khalife has been arrested as he praised efforts by the police and the public in finding him.
Officers were seen checking people’s gardens, stopping cars, inspecting car boots and asking residents for their IDs throughout the morning.
The Met Police issued an appeal at around 9am for members of the public in the west London district to “remain vigilant”, announcing that Khalife was believed to be wearing a black baseball cap, black T-shirt and dark-coloured bottoms, carrying a small bag or case.
And just under two hours later officers apprehended the suspect.
Local resident Paul Wade said he opened his curtains to find five police officers outside his home earlier on Saturday.
The 79-year-old told the PA news agency: “They were checking everybody’s gardens. Our neighbour told us there were sniffer dogs.
“As we understand it, they just clambered over the walls and inspected, they didn’t wake everybody up. They just checked. They had helicopters above.”
The former soldier is believed to have escaped from HMP Wandsworth on Wednesday morning by strapping himself to the bottom of a delivery lorry after leaving the prison kitchen in a cook’s uniform.
It is unclear whether he will be taken back to the category B prison or to a higher security location.
The force announced on Friday a £20,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to the arrest of the former soldier, who was awaiting trial after allegedly planting a fake bomb at an RAF base and gathering information that might be useful to terrorists or enemies of the UK.
Speaking to broadcasters at the G20 summit venue in New Delhi, the Prime Minister said: “I’m very pleased with the news and my thanks to the police officers for their fantastic work over the past couple of days, but also to the public who came forward with an enormous number of leads to help the police in their inquiries.
“It’s good news that we captured the person concerned. As people already know, the Justice Secretary has initiated an inquiry into the circumstances of his escape and that work will continue.
“This is obviously very welcome news. Again, my thanks to the police but also to the public for their help.”
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said that he will leave “no stone unturned” in the investigations launched after the escape of Khalife.
I would like to thank the police and partners for their comprehensive efforts over recent days. I am also grateful to staff across HMPPS for their continued focus and professionalism.
— Alex Chalk KC MP (@AlexChalkChelt) September 9, 2023
In a statement, the Cabinet minister said: “I would like to thank the police and partners for their comprehensive efforts over recent days. I am also grateful to staff across HMPPS (HM Prison and Probation Service) for their continued focus and professionalism.
“With Daniel Khalife now in custody, the legal process must be allowed to take its course. Nothing should be said or done to prejudice any future trial.
“The investigations I requested into prison security and categorisation are well in train, and I will leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of how this serious breach was possible.”
Home Office minister Chris Philp congratulated the police for their “rapid and effective” work to apprehend the terror suspect.
Thank you to all the police & intelligence teams involved in the search and arrest of Daniel Khalife- very welcome news he has now been caught. Now we need answers about how on earth a prisoner charged with terror & national security offences could have escaped in this way. https://t.co/xb3WwJcFUr
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) September 9, 2023
Labour demanded answers from the Government now that Daniel Khalife has been arrested.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper wrote on social media: “Thank you to all the police & intelligence teams involved in the search and arrest of Daniel Khalife – very welcome news he has now been caught.
“Now we need answers about how on earth a prisoner charged with terror & national security offences could have escaped in this way.”