Three Jay Slater disappearance theories from former Met Police murder detective

Jay Slater vanished in Tenerife on Monday, June 17
-Credit: (Image: LANCS LIVE)

A former top cop has delivered three theories on what he thinks has happened to missing Jay Slater. Peter Kirkham fears the 19-year-old apprentice bricklayer who vanished in Tenerife has either plunged into a ravine, deliberately disappeared, or has even been kidnapped.

Ex-murder detective Kirkham spent 20 years at all ranks up to Detective Chief Inspector for the Metropolitan Police. And he's given a stark assessment of the grave situation, as the desperate search for Jay entered its 11th day.

His bleak outlook has been echoed by sources on the island, who fear the teenager is "unlikely" to be found alive if he did get lost in the mountains on Monday, June 17.

Writing exclusively for the Mirror, Mr Kirkham penned: "In the circumstances as first reported, and in particular the last phone call he is known to have made, the most obvious theory is that Jay Slater became lost whilst trying to walk back through a remote and difficult area totally unknown to him.

"He may also have fallen into a ravine or something similar and have become injured and incapacitated. This possibility leads to the searches that we have seen the police making but the area involved is so large that, even now, only a fraction can possibly have been thoroughly searched.

Jay Slater went missing in the mountains of northern Tenerife last week
Jay Slater went missing in the mountains of northern Tenerife last week -Credit:Instagram

"Sadly, if this is the explanation, after such an extended period missing, it is unlikely that Jay will be found alive. But the police will keep reviewing what they have done and moving on to the next most likely area.

"A second possibility, which must always be considered, is that Jay has deliberately disappeared for some reason. As we find out more about him, it seems he has a somewhat chequered past which may well have led to his disappearance.

"The police will be pursuing lines of enquiry related to his background and domestic circumstances to identify if this is a viable possibility. This is an aspect of the investigation which the UK police will be far better placed to progress. I would hope that the Spanish authorities, who retain primacy in this investigation, have made contact with the Lancashire Police with a request to assist in this regard.

"The third possibility that needs to be considered is that Jay has been kidnapped, or worse, by another person. This could be a spur of the moment thing, arising from a spontaneous situation which has arisen, or a pre-planned thing arising from a longer-term conflict or dispute.

"The spontaneous version need not involve anyone with any significant criminal history and so could involve anyone. Nor does it need to involve any intent to cause him any harm – it could have been some sort of accidental illness or injury followed by panic on the part of others present.

"The reports that Jay had left his friends and gone off with two men he had apparently just met whilst clubbing make this a possibility requiring urgent investigation. The two men – who reportedly say that Jay left them in good health – are the key start point here and the police in Tenerife should be prioritising investigation of this line of enquiry. If, as has been reported, the men are British and back in the UK then this is again an area in which the UK authorities have hopefully been engaged to assist.

Jay Slater search is into its second week.
Retired detective Peter Kirkham

"The pre-planned version would normally only be something done by people with a serious criminal history and / or would involve someone with a major conflict with Jay, such as a debt of thousands of pounds or criminal property, such as drugs, of similar value. This is another area in which the start point for the police is Jay’s background, with extensive enquiries into his family, friends and associates as well as his own history. Though unlikely, this possibility cannot be ruled out.

"Taken together, these three basic categories of theory cover pretty much every possibility. In order to conduct a thorough and competent investigation the police must keep an open mind and pursue lines of enquiry relating to all three of them.

"That said, in the real world of limited resources, it is inevitable and perfectly acceptable for the police to prioritise them. Thus far the priority has been on the first possibility – that Jay has become lost and succumbed to illness or injury – but as time moves on and no trace of him is found, there will be a need to look harder at the other options.

"The nature of the area in which Jay was last seen, and the size of the area which needs to be searched, means that the police are unlikely to ever be able to definitively rule out that he has accidentally come to some harm.

"This is compounded by the fact that the police do not have the technological assistance that is now almost always available to them: the area is remote with very little CCTV coverage, his mobile reportedly was about to run out of power and no known vehicle is involved so automatic number plate readers, even if they exist on the relatively few roads, cannot add much to the investigation.

"Yet again with such cases, we must accept that the investigation will be slow going and that it may never be definitively resolved. This is not due to any failings on the part of the police – though, as always, there may well be things that could have been done better or faster – but is inevitable in the real world."

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