A 25-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender as part of the police investigation into the alleged escape of former soldier Daniel Khalife from HMP Wandsworth.
Khalife is accused of escaping the Category B prison last September while awaiting trial on remand for allegedly planting a fake bomb at an RAF base and gathering information that might be useful to terrorists or enemies of the UK.
The 22-year-old former member of the Royal Signals allegedly strapped himself to the underside of a food delivery van before being arrested four days later in Chiswick, after being pulled from a bicycle by a plain-clothes counterterrorism officer. Khalife denies all charges against him.
Just over a fortnight ago, on 17 January, a 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. He remains on bail to a date in late April.
A second woman has now been arrested in east London on suspicion of assisting an offender, and was taken to a police station, before also being released on bail until a date in late April, the Metropolitan Police said on Friday.
Neither of the two individuals arrested in the past fortnight are members of staff at HMP Wandsworth, according to Scotland Yard.
Detective Chief Superintendent Gareth Rees, head of operations at the Met’s counterterrorism command unit, said: “We continue to carry out a thorough investigation into the full circumstances of the alleged escape of Khalife, and we have now arrested two other people as part of this.
“I know there continues to be a great deal of interest in this case, but I must remind the public that Khalife is awaiting trial. It is therefore extremely important that people do not report, comment upon or share information which could in any way prejudice the future court proceedings.”
Khalife is due to go on trial at the Old Bailey in October after pleading not guilty to charges alleging he escaped from HMP Wandsworth.
Khalife has also pleaded not guilty to three other charges, in alleged breaches of the Terrorism Act, Criminal Law Act, and Official Secrets Act.
These respectively include charges that he elicited or attempted to elicit information of a kind likely to be useful to a potential terrorist, in August 2021, and that he placed “three canisters with wires on a desk in his accommodation” to spark fears it was “likely to explode or ignite”, either on or before 2 January 2023.
Both incidents are alleged to have taken place at Beacon Barracks in Staffordshire.
The fourth charge sees him accused of obtaining, collecting, recording, publishing or communicating information which could be useful to an enemy, between May 2019 and January 2022.
The trial in October is scheduled to last eight weeks.