An image of Russell Brand from Wikimedia Commons

September 2023: Escapes, Swearing and Scandals

September 2023 was a month marked by a prison escape, a high-profile celebrity facing sexual assault allegations and more government scandals.

The Wandsworth Prison Escape

A rather extraordinary story stole the headlines in September as Daniel Khalife, 21, escaped from Wandsworth Prison on September 6, in the UK’s most high-profile prison escape of the 21st century.

Khalife was a former British army soldier and awaiting trial on terrorism charges, when he is believed to have escaped by hiding under a food lorry in the morning of September 6.

London was in a state of frenzy; there was a nationwide police search and a large-scale manhunt across London, all UK airports and ports were on high alert with delays at major transport hubs.

Richmond Park, London’s largest park, was closed while the Met Police undertook a search.

The police offered a reward of £20,000 on September 8 for any information on his whereabouts, which had many Londoners on the lookout.

The escapee was on the run for four days before being arrested in West London on September 10, 14 miles away from the prison.

Khalife pleaded not guilty to the charges of escape, and will be charged in July next year.

RAAC Concrete

It wasn’t a normal ‘back to school’ for many pupils in the UK in September as more than 150 schools in the nation were forced to close, fully or partially, due to their schools being fitted with a type of concrete which could suddenly collapse.

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete, otherwise known as RAAC, is a building material that was used from the 1950s up to the mid-1990s.

It was revealed in September that it was causing hundreds of public buildings to be at risk of collapsing including schools, hospitals, airports and housing blocks.

The British government attracted huge amounts of criticism due to their handling of the situation and ministers were accused of covering up evidence relating to the severity of the problem for months.

UK Education Secretary Gillian Keegan infamously made rather inappropriate remarks on camera at the end of an interview with ITV.

Keegan said: “Does anyone ever say ’you know what you’ve done a f***ing good job because everyone else has sat on their arse and done nothing?'”

Russell Brand Allegations

On September 16, an investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches revealed that Russell Brand had been accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse. 

Russell Brand, 48, a high-profile English comedian, actor and presenter, had already faced several sexual misconduct allegations before the documentary in September.

Five women came forward and told the media organisations that Brand assaulted them between 2006 and 2013.

These incidents allegedly occurred while he was working for the BBC, on Channel 4, and in different films as an actor.

Since the allegations were published, BBC and Channel 4 have been conducting internal investigations.

Brand denied the allegations in a video he posted online, but has since been under investigation by the Metropolitan Police.

Feature Image Credit: Raph_PH, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

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