Spanish police searching for Jay Slater investigate if teenager’s background is ‘relevant’ to his disappearance

24 June 2024, 22:34 | Updated: 24 June 2024, 23:18

Spanish police are investigating if Jay's 'background' is relevant to the disappearance.
Spanish police are investigating if Jay's 'background' is relevant to the disappearance. Picture: Social media/Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Spanish police conducting the search for missing teenager Jay Slater are investigating his ‘background’ to determine whether it is relevant to his disappearance.

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Jay, from Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire, travelled to the Canary Islands for a weekend music festival with two friends when he disappeared late on the night of June 16.

Extensive searches have been underway since he disappeared last week, but now detectives on the holiday island are evaluating the teenager’s background.

It comes after the Spanish press revealed that the 19-year-old has a criminal history, as he was previously involved in a machete attack that left a teenager fighting for his life.

In 2021, Jay was among eight who split the skull of Tom Hilton, 17 at the time, after attacking him with a machete, gold clubs and an axe.

Mr Hilton was left with injuries to his head, which left his skull exposed, as well as wounds to his shoulders and legs after the attack in Rishton, Lancashire.

The teenager told a court he was forced to run for his life through nearby woods before he was set upon by the gang, which he described as like a ‘pack of wolves’.

Reacting to the news of Jay’s disappearance and addressing conspiracy theories about it circulating online, Mr Hilton wrote on Facebook: “Whoever is writing on these TikToks, give it a rest. This young lad's missing and his family's heartbroken.

'Family❤️' read the caption on Jay Slater's brother's Facebook page, as the hunt for the teen continues.
'Family❤️' read the caption on Jay Slater's brother's Facebook page, as the hunt for the teen continues. Picture: Facebook: Zak Slayter

“Put yourself in their shoes. Stop talking nonsense on social and get this lad found, mentioning my name all this and that.

“Have some respect and help find this boy and get him back to his family.”

Passing sentence on the case at the time, Judge Parry told the court that the group of eight had found the trial “amusing”.

He said, the Manchester Evening News reported at the time: “Many of you have found these proceedings amusing throughout the trial and yesterday and today, showing disrespect to the court.

“I hope for the sake of all your families, the public and the people who have offered you jobs and apprenticeships and the sort that you all grow up.

“Everyone of you deserves to be sent to youth detention. Some of you played a more active role in the violent disorder than others, some of you carried weapons, some wore balaclavas but the seriousness of this is the group nature of it.

“As a group you were all more threatening than you would have been as individuals.”

Jay was given an 18-month community order with 25 days of rehabilitation activities and 150 hours of unpaid work for violent disorder following the trial.

He left for his holiday to Tenerife last week after completing most of his sentence, the Daily Mail reports.

Local media in Tenerife have since started reporting the details of Jay’s criminal activity, as one paper El Dia published a story with the headline: “The past of the young British man who disappeared in Tenerife. Slater beat up a teenager along with seven other people.”

Spanish police said they are not “ruling anything out” amid the ongoing search for Jay.

A source told the MailOnline: “In cases of missing people it's natural to investigate their background in case it's relevant to the hunt.

“This case is unusual as it's been a week and there has been no sighting or leads on him at all and searches have thrown up no clues.

“We have to consider the possibility of something else happening.”

CCTV images show a mystery figure believed to be Jay Slater
CCTV images show a mystery figure believed to be Jay Slater. Picture: Handout

It comes after the father of Jay urged anyone with information on his missing son to come forward, as the search for the nineteen-year-old entered its second week in Tenerife.

Both of his parents have been vocal in their calls for help with their son, as police continue to search the island, and his dad Warren has travelled to Tenerife to help with the hunt.

He said that the period since his son had gone missing had been "a living hell".

"I just want him to be found, simples," Warren added. "I just want my son back, end of. What more is there, it’s been a week now, a week of nothing, so somebody somewhere must’ve found out something. Somebody. It is a living hell, unless you’re going through it, you cannot explain.

Read more: Last person to speak to missing Jay Slater claims he has been kidnapped and ‘something sinister is going on’

Read more: Jay Slater, missing Brit in Tenerife, rang friend to say he'd 'cut his leg on cactus' and 'didn't know where he was'

"Please, please please, if anybody knows anything just come forward and help us. I don’t know if anything untoward has happened to Jay, one minute he is here, next minute he’s disappeared. I don’t believe he’s still in that mountain.

"The police have put every effort into finding him. The authorities have done everything they can in the search, everybody is up there looking for him.

“We need everybody to help us to search through this wilderness, everybody."

The search continues for missing Britsh teenager Jay Slater in Tenerife

Lucy Law, 18, who travelled to Tenerife with Jay, criticised Spanish police for “not doing a good enough job” in the search for him.

But officers have said they are "totally focused" on tracking the 19-year-old down and will continue to prioritise that, despite facing criticism.

It comes after Lancashire Police said they had offered to help out but were rejected by Spanish police.

"The Civil Guard is not going to reply to criticism or praise it receives here," a source told the Mirror.

"Officers are just doing their job, they’re focused on the search and they’re going to continue with the work they’re doing without anyone taking time out to respond to the evaluations other people are making.

"The force is aware of some of the comments that are already out there but are prioritising what needs to be done which is to search for Jay. Just imagine how much chatter there'd be if we did publicly respond."

A second source added: "If Lancashire Police have decided to make public their offer of support to the Civil Guard that’s a decision for them.

"But it doesn’t follow that the Civil Guard in Tenerife will be making any public statements of their own in response and it’s unlikely they will. We have a different way of doing things and that's not to say it's better or worse, just different."

A search team near the last known location of Jay Slater, near to the village of Masca, Tenerife
A search team near the last known location of Jay Slater, near to the village of Masca, Tenerife. Picture: Alamy

A Civil Guard spokeswoman said on Monday morning: “The same Civil Guard units that have been searching for him since last Monday, including the mountain rescue experts and officers with sniffer dogs, are out on the ground, along with a police helicopter in the air.

“Firefighters and Civil Protection workers with drones are also involved. No hypothesis is being ruled out.”

She added: “Some of the areas that are being searched have been looked at before.”

A grainy picture released by Jay's family showed a figure in Santiago del Teide at around 6pm last Monday - 10 hours after he was last seen in the village of Masca which is around four miles away.

It is understood to have been taken near a church called San Fernando Rey.

Jay's mother, Debbie Duncan, previously said a witness had come forward claiming someone matching her son's description was seen with two men in the same location on the same evening.

Local police are yet to confirm the sighting but have said "nothing has been ruled out and nothing has been ruled".

Ms Duncan earlier addressed conspiracy theories surrounding Jay's disappearance, saying she "really hope[s]" she will not be "taking my son home in a body bag".

A fundraiser for him has reached £30,000 - but questions have been posed as to what it will actually be used for, with a discussion raised on a social media page devoted to searching for him.

Ms Duncan said in response: "I am really am saddened by all your comments. You seem to be so bothered about this gofund me page. I really hope I am not taking my son home in a body bag.

A final snapchat video of Jay smiling before going missing
A final snapchat video of Jay smiling before going missing. Picture: Manchester Evening News

"The funds are not released and won't be if not needed. I really cannot believe the British public are not supporting me in trying to find Jay. This may happen to any of you one day. Very let down by you all."

Ms Duncan later added: "Sorry that you have taken this the wrong way. I am overwhelmed with the generosity. What I meant was VERBAL support. I really hope I don't need this money. If its not needed it all gets refunded to the people who really did care."

The search has been going on for a week, and police in Tenerife announced over the weekend that they were starting to close in on a series of small buildings near to where the teenager's phone was last detected.

After a final phone call made to one of his friends, Lucy Mae, at around 8am last Monday, Jay vanished, with his phone running out of battery shortly after.

Friends say that he sounded disorientated during the call, explaining that he was "in the middle of mountains" with "nothing around".

Meanwhile a former detective who probed the disappearance of Nicola Bulley and led an investigation into Jimmy Savile has offered up his services with finding Jay.

Mark Williams-Thomas, has 'reached out' to Ms Duncan to offer his help.

A picture of Jay shared to Lucy's social media just days before going missing
A picture of Jay shared to Lucy's social media just days before going missing. Picture: Instagram/lu.cymaenew

A fellow partygoer caught Jay on camera stumbling around at a party just hours before disappearing.

Jay was spotted falling over and getting back up at the Papagayo club in Playa de las América not long before he vanished.

The person who filmed him said: "It was a good atmosphere, it was hard dance music and everybody was having a good time vibing away.

"I wanted to remember the moment so I started filming, then I saw a lad staggering around in front of me.

“You could see him get up off the ground, everyone turned there to look. They looked a bit concerned.

"I had no idea it was Jay at first, he was proper worse for wear. He was with a couple of lads and a girl.”

The man said he was looking back at his videos later and was shocked to see Jay.

"My blood ran cold, knowing he was gone,” he said. "All our mates [had] seen it [news of the disappearance] the next day, we were all shocked".

The last person to speak Jay claimed he had been kidnapped and ‘something sinister is going on’.

On his way home, he spoke to his pal Lucy Law to say he was lost and dehydrated and only had one per cent battery on his phone.

He has not been seen or heard from since.

Spanish police have not entertained kidnap as a line of inquiry and are treating him as a missing person.

But Lucy told MailOnline: “The whole thing is just so weird.

"It's been three days now since he was last seen and the more time goes on the more I'm sure he has been taken. At first I wasn't so sure but now I'm convinced.

"He is not stupid if he left the house on his own he would have walked to the road and then tried to flag a car down or stop someone for help."

She also said that Jay called them to say he'd cut his leg on a cactus and didn't know where he was.Lucy said he rang her at approximately 8am, saying he "didn't know where he was", that he "needed a drink" and had "cut his leg on a cactus".

His mobile phone battery was down to 1%, but before the device died he was able to send her a photo of his location.

When she told him to return to where he had walked from, he said he did not know where that was.

He sounded disorientated and explained that he was "in the middle of mountains" with "nothing around".

MsDuncan, earlier issued a plea for people to find her son after a 'false sighting' delayed the search for him on Wednesday.

"It's a nightmare. It's just an absolute living nightmare," she previously told ITN.

"It's like a dream - it's like it's not happening, it really is. I wouldn't wish this on anybody. 

"I just want my baby back. Please, just anybody who can help just look for him. There's a massive area up there, massive.

"It's over 48 hours now since he last had any contact with anybody. 

"He's out there somewhere, or somebody knows where he is. We just need to find my baby."

Authorities had been searching the mountainous area of north-west Tenerife for the teenager before focus shifted to tourist hotspots Los Cristianos and Playa de Las Americas in the south.

It came after an alleged sighting of him getting out of a taxi.

But it later emerged that the report was incorrect, with police forced to move attention back to the original site.

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