Jay Slater machete gang attack victim hits out at internet trolls and urges them to help find teenager

A man who had his “skull split open” in a machete attack carried out by a gang including Jay Slater has broken his silence on the desperate search for the teenager who vanished in Tenerife.

The missing 19-year-old was part of a group of eight people who attacked Tom Hilton, then 17, with a machete, golf clubs and an axe in Rishton, Lancashire, in 2021.

The apprentice bricklayer, from Oswaldtwistle, was handed an 18-month community order with 25 days of rehabilitation activities and 150 hours of unpaid work for his role in the violent disorder.

Local police have said “nothing is ruled out” as the search for missing teenager continues (James Manning/PA Wire)
Local police have said “nothing is ruled out” as the search for missing teenager continues (James Manning/PA Wire)

He then went on holiday to Tenerife after completing most of his sentence. Many online trolls had been reporting his role in the attack, and labelling his disappearance as “karma”.

But on Facebook, the gang’s victim Tom Hilton stood up for Mr Slater.

In a now-deleted post, he said: “Whoever is writing on these TikToks, give it a rest. This young lad’s missing and his family’s heartbroken.

“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.”

Mr Hilton had been left with parts of his skull exposed as well as serious wounds to his shoulders and legs, with the defendants laughing and joking with each other in Preston Crown Court.

Map shows Mr Slater’s last known movements in Tenerife (PA Wire)
Map shows Mr Slater’s last known movements in Tenerife (PA Wire)

A judge at the time described the gang as acting like a “pack of wolves”, forcing their teenage victim to run for his life through nearby woods.

El Dia, a local newspaper for the Canary Islands, ran 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.”

As the search for Mr Slater continues into its second week the paper highlighted the attack as a “black mark in his past”.

Conspiracy theories have spread on social media after his mother Debbie Duncan reported receiving a Snapchat message, which warned: “Kiss goodbye to your boy, you’re never going to see him again, he owes me a lot of money.”

Mr Slater with his mother Debbie Duncan (Supplied)
Mr Slater with his mother Debbie Duncan (Supplied)

She was forced to hit out at criticism of a fundraising page set up which has £36,000 to help the desperate search for her son, warning: “This may happen to you.”

Ms Duncan said the total raised by more than 3,200 individual donations will be used to support mountain rescue teams, to cover her own accommodation, and for food and flights for “loved ones”.

In an update on Thursday, Ms Duncan said: “First, I would like to thank everyone for your support, kind messages, and good wishes. It’s difficult to wrap our heads around what is happening right now, but we are not losing hope that we will find Jay and return home together.

“We are currently working with GoFundMe to withdraw part of the funds, which are being safely held. I wanted to share that these funds will be used to support the mountain rescue teams who are tirelessly searching for Jay.

“Additionally, since our stay in Tenerife needs to be extended, we will also use the funds to cover accommodation and food expenses. I’m surrounded by wonderful people who are by my side, but far from their loved ones, so we’ll also be using part of these funds to fly them to Tenerife so we can support each other during these dark times.

“Thank you again for all your donations and support, this means the world to us.”