Escaped terror suspect Daniel Khalife has been urged to hand himself in by a close relative.
Speaking to The Times, the unnamed family member described the 21-year-old as a “very, very intelligent, easygoing and kind boy” who had changed in the past year.
As a nationwide manhunt enters its fourth day, the relative told the newspaper: “If I could talk to him, I would tell him to end this and give himself up, even though I understand he is afraid.”
The former soldier escaped from Wandsworth Prison on Wednesday morning in a chef’s uniform – holding on to straps underneath a food lorry to make his getaway.
Yesterday, Scotland Yard revealed there was a confirmed sighting of Khalife about a mile away – shortly after the breakout.
Detectives have been scouring Richmond Park for signs of the fugitive, not far from the Category B prison.
The relative told The Times that Khalife is unlikely to seek help from his family while on the run, adding: “He would never want to cause us any problems. He loves us very much.”
It is assumed that Khalife knows the Richmond area well because he grew up nearby, while his mother and sister are believed to have lived in the vicinity until a few years ago.
£20,000 reward offered
Commander Dominic Murphy, who leads the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, has said the confirmed sighting on Wednesday “could be very significant”.
A member of the public had seen Khalife climb out from under the lorry, and walk towards Wandsworth town centre.
Mr Murphy said the force is currently working on “lots of leads” after receiving over 100 calls from the public – and a reward of £20,000 is now being offered for information that leads to his arrest.
While the Met does not believe Khalife poses a threat to the wider public, anyone who sees him is being urged to stay away and call 999 immediately.
The former soldier 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.
He was discharged from the army in May.
Rishi Sunak, who is currently at the G20 summit in India, was asked by reporters about potential “state involvement” in Khalife’s escape – perhaps from Iran.
The prime minister said it would not be appropriate to comment on an “ongoing police investigation”.
A ‘clearly pre-planned’ escape
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley told LBC that Khalife’s escape “was clearly pre-planned – and it “seems odd” that the terror suspect wasn’t being held in a high-security prison.
Detectives are now examining whether he was assisted by prison guards or other inmates in his bid to escape.
Police have not ruled out the possibility that he may have managed to flee the country.
Mr Murphy had previously described police as a “very resourceful individual”.
Earlier this week, he said: “We have some of the best military in the world here in the UK and he was a trained soldier.
“So ultimately he has skills perhaps some sections of the public don’t have.”