Jay Slater's mum taunted by sick 'Karen Matthews' taunt as desperate search continues

Debbie Duncan, Jay's mother, shared her worry in a heartbreaking interview
-Credit: (Image: ITV News)

Sick trolls have compared Jay Slater's mum to Yorkshire's infamous Karen Matthews as the desperate search for her missing son continues.

Debbie Duncan has hit back at awful trolls who are targeting her as she frantically waits for news of her 19-year-old son who has vanished while holidaying in Tenerife. The heartbroken family have been subjected to vile abuse on social media, with some taunts comparing Debbie to notorious Matthews, from Dewsbury, who hatched a sick plot to have her own daughter kidnapped for ransom.

Debbie flew out to Tenerife immediately after being told of her son's disappearance by Lancashire Police. Frantic with worry, she has been unable to bring herself to go to the location where Jay was last scene as the search, which is now in its seventh day, for him continues.

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She told the Daily Mirror said: “People keep asking on social media ‘why aren’t I up there?’ and calling me the new Karen Matthews. I just can’t face it.”

Exhausted and desperate for news, Debbie spoke from the hotel where Jay's family are staying while they wait for more news from the police. As of Saturday evening, there was no fresh information to speak of.

Karen Matthews (pictured) planned the fake abduction of her daughter Shannon to try and gain access to £50,000 in reward money -Credit:SWNS
Karen Matthews (pictured) planned the fake abduction of her daughter Shannon to try and gain access to £50,000 in reward money -Credit:SWNS

Debbie said: “I’m just exhausted. I’m still hopeful. I’m not feeling negative just yet. I know it’s five days. It’s not just that they’ve said absolutely not. I don’t know what it’s been like today because I’ve been advised to stay away because I would just break down.

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“My boy might be just up there somewhere. We’re all devastated. He’s just a normal boy from a little town in Lancashire. These things don’t happen. I was in touch with him while he is in Tenerife. He was just holidaying away, he’d saved up and was looking forward to it. I’ve not slept for five days. My brain isn’t functioning well and I’m tired and exhausted.”

In order to help the family with the cost of staying in Tenerife while they wait for news, a GoFundMe page has been set up. The total has so far reached more than £28,000. Lucy Law, who was on holiday with Jay when the 19-year-old disappeared, has appealed to the public to help the family as the search goes on.

Search and rescue workers near to the village of Masca

Rachel Louise Harg, who is the administrator of an official Facebook page set up to help find Jay, said people had been “hacking” the social media accounts of Jay’s family and branded them “sick in the head”. She stressed that the money from the fundraising was going to the bank account of Jay’s mum and was being used for accommodation and food.

Nearly a dozen other GoFundMe pages have had to be shut down as suspected scams. The crowdfunding platform said it had removed a number of fundraisers, stating that efforts were ongoing to verify the identity of the organisers and confirm donations would go to Jay's family.

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In a statement, a spokesperson said: "Our hearts go out to Jay Slater, his family and everyone else concerned about his disappearance. All campaigns are under review and no money will be transferred unless we can verify it goes straight to his family. At moments like this, we often see people set up campaigns to benefit strangers when they are moved to help. That is why we work with organisers to ensure any money donated goes to the right place.

Jay Slater, 19, from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire is missing on the Spanish island

"GoFundMe has a dedicated Trust & Safety team reviewing all relevant fundraisers. In addition to the team of experts, we deploy proprietary technical tools and have multiple processes in place to verify the identity of organizers and the recipient of the fundraiser. Before money is transferred, an individual or organisation's information, including their banking information, must be verified."

Karen Matthews is infamous for plotting with loner Mick Donovan to have her nine-year-old daughter Shannon kidnapped in Dewsbury for a £50,000 reward for her safe return. Shannon was kept in Donovan’s rundown council flat for 24 days while police officers and locals searched for her in 2008.

Shannon disappeared on her way home from a swimming lesson at Westmoor Primary School in Dewsbury and after one of the UK’s biggest ever search operations, costing West Yorkshire Police £3.2million, Shannon was discovered hidden under Donovan's bed in Batley Carr. Donovan and Karen Matthews were jailed for eight years in 2009.