A British ex-soldier pleads not guilty to escaping from a London prison

LONDON (AP) — A former soldier who allegedly snuck out of a London prison by strapping himself under a food delivery truck has pleaded not guilty to escaping custody.

Daniel Khalife, 21, appeared at London's Central Criminal Court on Thursday by video link from the high-security Belmarsh Prison to deny the charge.

Prosecutors say Khalife, who was awaiting trial on terrorism charges in southwest London's Wandsworth Prison, escaped on Sept. 6 by using bedsheets to tie himself to the underside of a catering truck.

That prompted helicopter searches in London and extra security checks at major transport hubs, particularly in and around the Port of Dover, the main boat crossing from England to France.

Khalife was arrested on a canal towpath in west London on Sept. 9 after a four-day manhunt. Authorities said he was riding a bicycle when a plain-clothes counter-terrorism officer nabbed him.

Khalife had been in custody pending trial on charges of violating Britain’s Official Secrets Act by gathering information “that could be useful to an enemy” and planting fake bombs at a military base. He was discharged from the British army after his arrest earlier this year.

He denied the allegations.

Khalife will face trial in November at Woolwich Crown Court for those offenses as well as for escaping custody.


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