Jay Slater: Real identity of mystery man known as 'Johnny Vegas' finally revealed

The former cop spoke with key witness Ayub Qassim, known as 'Jonny Vegas'
-Credit: (Image: Stan Kujawa)

The identity of a key witness previously known only as 'Johnny Vegas' in the case of missing teenager Jay Slater has finally been unveiled. TV detective Mark Williams-Thomas, who travelled to Tenerife to assist in the search for Jay, revealed that further investigation into the case has uncovered an established criminal network linked to drugs, violent crime and theft.

Jay, an apprentice bricklayer from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, attended a rave in Tenerife with two British men and spent the night at an Airbnb in a remote village before disappearing. This trip marked Jay's first time travelling abroad.

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

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

It has now been disclosed that Ayub Qassim, 31, who was jailed nine years ago for masterminding a scheme to flood Wales with Class A drugs, is the elusive 'Johnny Vegas' who drove the missing teenager to the isolated holiday rental.

Former Met Police officer Mr Williams-Thomas took to social media to provide an update, revealing his conversation with Ayub Qassim, also known as Johnny Vegas. In a video, he disclosed: "In the last 24 hours I have spoken in detail with Ayub Qassim, who is also known as Johnny Vegas."

He recounted the events of the night, saying: "He said he was on the strip, Jay wanted to carry on partying and he said he had nowhere to stay, so he said he could come back to his. In the car, they played music and chatted before stopping to get a drink at a cafe just prior to entering the mountains. [Qassim] was driving, his friend was in the passenger seat, and Jay was in the back."

Upon reaching the rental property, "[Qassim's] friend opened the door, went to the left and went straight to sleep. Jay walked in behind, followed by [Qassim]. They went upstairs," where Qassim indicated to Jay "the sofa's for you there" and provided him with a towel, a blanket, and permission to shower whenever he wished.

The TV detective continued: "Jay also asked for a cigarette and Ayub said I've got some Camel cigarettes, and put one on the side. Jay then asked for a charger", which led to him entering the room of Qassim's friend, who was asleep, to take the charger.

Later that night, Qassim was woken up by the buzzing of the door. Mr Williams-Thomas added: "He says he opens the door and speaks to a woman and man, and they gesture to him that he needed to move his car. Qassim gets into his car and starts to move it, and he looks in the rear view mirror and sees Jay talking to a woman. Jay had his trainers on, as if he was about to leave and told Qassim that the woman had said he could get a bus."

Jay was ready to go, trainers on, when he mentioned the woman's advice about a bus service "every ten minutes". Qassim told him, "Mate, just chill out I'll drop you off in town when I wake up properly."

But Jay insisted, "nah, nah, nah, I'm hungry, I need some scran, and the woman said you can get a bus from Los Christianos every ten minutes."

Qassim recalls telling him, "There's no bus coming. This is my green door, if you need me," before closing the door as Jay walked away and Qassim returned to sleep.

Mr Williams-Thomas added that Qassim later received a call from one of Jay's friends, claiming Jay was in a ditch and had been injured by a cactus.

The Airbnb, Casa Abuela Tina, located near the remote village of Masca, was rented for a mere £40 a night by Qassim under the pseudonym Ayub Abdul. On June 17, Jay stayed at the cottage but disappeared after 5am without any sign.

Qassim, with an unnamed friend, has been liaising with Spanish authorities and even extended his stay by a day to assist with inquiries into Jay's mysterious disappearance.

Speaking previously to MailOnline, Qassim confirmed that Jay had "left the house alive."

He stated: "The only comment I have to make is that Jay came to the house alive, and he left the house alive."

He also mentioned providing Jay with a "blanket to sleep in" and stressed that there was no fight between them.

A Snapchat photo sent by Jay to his mates at 7.30 am on the day he vanished shows him smoking a cigarette, wrapped in a red blanket. Qassim stated: "I let the bloke stay at mine because he had nowhere else to go, his mates had all left him. I know Jay, through friends, I'm not going to bring someone back to mine if I don't know them."

Mr Williams-Thomas, who has been tirelessly investigating leads into the 19 year old's disappearance, revealed that he discovered a criminal network associated with drugs, violent crime and theft as he questioned "as many people" who crossed paths with Jay in Tenerife.

He commented: "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 aimed to identify and converse with as many people Jay had contact with whilst in Tenerife."

"The outcome of this probing has exposed an established criminal network with ties to drugs, violent crime and theft. You will understand that at this stage I cannot elaborate any further on what we now know. However, at this point I'm unable to confirm if this network has any connection to Jay's disappearance."