Ex-detective says Jay Slater's disappearance in Tenerife has links to 'criminal network' as new details emerge

Mark Williams-Thomas has provided an update on the Jay Slater investigation
-Credit: (Image: Mark Williams-Thomas/X)

The disappearance of Jay Slater in Tenerife has been linked to an "established criminal network", according to a former Metropolitan Police officer.

Jay, an apprentice bricklayer from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, vanished three weeks ago after attending a rave on the island. Ex-Met cop Mark Williams-Thomas has now suggested that the teen's disappearance is connected to an "established criminal network", as revealed in an online video.

The trip marked Jay's first time travelling abroad.

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On Monday, June 17, Jay was last heard from as he tried to return to the tourist hotspot of Los Christianos, where he had been staying with friends Lucy Law and Brad Hargreaves. Despite an extensive two-week search, there has been no sign of him.

The case took a sinister turn earlier this week when it emerged that one of the last people to see Jay was a convicted drug dealer, reports the Mirror.

TV detective Mark Williams-Thomas, who travelled to Tenerife to assist in the search for Jay, announced the potential underworld connections. He stated that further investigation into the case has uncovered an established criminal network linked to drugs, violent crime, and theft.

He stated: "As part of this investigation we have sought to speak with all of the people Jay had contact with whilst in Tenerife. The result of this digging has opened up an established criminal network with links to drugs, violent crime and theft. At this stage I cannot expand any further on what we now know."

"I'm unable to say if this network has anything to do with Jay's disappearance but remain open-minded as we continue to investigate."

Mark also disclosed that Ayub Qassim, 31, who was jailed nine years ago for running a scheme to flood Wales with Class A drugs, is the enigmatic 'Jonny Vegas' who took the missing teenager to the deserted holiday rental.

In a video update posted online, Mark said he had spoken with Qassim: "In the last 24 hours I have spoken in detail with Ayub Qassim, who is also known as Jonny Vegas."

"He told me he was on the (Veronicas) Strip in Playa de las Americas and said that Jay wanted to carry on partying and that he hadn't anywhere to stay, so he (Qassim) invited him back to his rental. In the car they played music all the way, they stopped once to get a can of fizzy drink, and there was three of them in the car, Jay in the back and Qassim's friend in the front."

He added that after arriving at the Airbnb, while Qassim's friend went to sleep, Jay was given a blanket and phone charger before he left to catch a bus that "comes every 10 minutes".

"Once at the property, his friend opened the door, and went to the left and went straight to sleep. Jay walked in, and Qassim walked in behind him, went upstairs, and got him a red blanket," Mark said.

The TV detective added: "Qassim said 'Yo bro, the sofa's for you there' and he gave him a towel if he needed a shower. Jay also asked for a cigarette and Qassim gave him a Camel cigarette and left it on the side. Jay then asked for a charger and then went into Qassim's friend room, while he was sleeping and got the charger."

Mr Williams-Thomas added that Qassim told him he then went to sleep and was awoken by the sound of the door buzzing. He added: "Qassim opened the door and spoke to a woman and man and they told him to move his car, which he did and he said he could see Jay chatting to a woman."

Missing Jay Slater
Missing Jay Slater -Credit:Instagram

"He said that after moving the car, he came back and saw Jay had his trainers on and he told Qassim that the woman had said he could get a bus 'every ten minutes'. Qassim said to him "Chill, mate, I'll drop you off later, when I wake up' but he said Jay said 'nah, I need some scran, I'm hungry""

"Jay said he had been told by the woman the bus to Los Cristianos was every ten minutes and Qassim said there was no bus and added "Do what you like' before going to sleep."

It's understood that Qassim invited the teen back to his place after a rave in the south of the island, before Jay vanished the following day. The 31 year old, along with an unnamed mate, has been liaising with Spanish police and extended his stay in Tenerife to aid the investigation.

He previously spoke to the Daily Mail, stating that Jay had "left the house alive". A Snapchat image sent by Jay to his pals at 7.30am on the day he went missing shows him wrapped in a red blanket, cigarette in hand.

In the video, Mark continued: "The evidence still strongly supports that Jay left the Airbnb abruptly, walked for thirty minutes before veering off road on the Monday where he dropped a location ping. However, as part of this investigation, we sought to identify and speak with as many people as Jay had contact with whilst in Tenerife."

"The result of this digging has opened up an established criminal network with links to drugs, violent crime and theft. You will appreciate that at this stage I cannot expand any further on what we now know. However, at this stage I'm unable to say if this network has anything to do with Jay's disappearance."