Daniel Abed Khalife: Terror suspect escapes Wandsworth Prison
Daniel Khalife was due to go on trial on November 13 (Picture: Sky News)

The trial of former soldier Daniel Khalife, who is accused of spying for Iran, has been pushed back to next summer following his escape from prison. 

The 22-year-old sparked a 75-hour manhunt after slipping out of HMP Wandsworth strapped to the bottom of a food delivery van on September 6. 

He was due to go on trial on November 13 but at a hearing on Friday Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said that was ‘wholly unrealistic’ and put the case back. 

Khalife is charged under the Official Secrets Act of gathering information that might be useful to an enemy of the UK between May 1, 2019, and January 6, 2022. 

He is said to have passed sensitive material to Iranian intelligence and had more material in his possession for that purpose, which he denies. 

The charge against him says that for a ‘purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state’ he ‘obtained, circulated, recorded, published or communicated to any other person notes, documents or information’ which might be or were intended to be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy. 

A second charge alleges Khalife elicited information about armed forces personnel on August 2, 2021. 

This allegedly relates to him ‘obtaining personal information from the MoD (Ministry of Defence) Joint Personnel Administration system of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’. 

Khalife is charged under the Official Secrets Act (Picture: Getty)

He is also charged with perpetrating a bomb hoax on or before January 2. 

The charge says he placed ‘three canisters with wires on a desk in his accommodation’ to spark fears it was ‘likely to explode or ignite and thereby cause personal injury or damage to property’. 

While on remand on those charges at Wandsworth prison in south London, it is alleged Khalife escaped on September 6 by strapping himself to the underside of a food delivery lorry. 

He was arrested on a canal towpath in west London on September 9 after being pulled off a push bike by a plain-clothes counter-terrorism officer. 

Khalife has denied all the charges against him. 

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Daniel Khalife, appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court in central London, where he is charged with escaping while a prisoner at HMP Wandsworth while on remand pending a trial at the Old Bailey. He was arrested on Saturday following a four-day manhunt. Picture date: Monday September 11, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story COURTS Army. Photo credit should read: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire
Court artist of Daniel Khalife, appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London (Picture: PA)

On Friday, he appeared at the Old Bailey by video link from Belmarsh prison wearing a blue and yellow jumpsuit. 

During the hearing, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said the planned trial date at Woolwich Crown Court in November was ‘wholly unrealistic’. 

He set a further hearing for December 21, when a new trial date at either Woolwich Crown Court or the Old Bailey will be discussed. 

Khalife, who spoke only to confirm his identity, was further remanded into custody. 

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