Jay Slater: Ex-detective warns of ‘catastrophic errors’ after major search update

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul3,2024

A former Scotland Yard detective has warned of “catastrophic errors” after it emerged officers in forensic gear visited the remote cottage where Jay Slater stayed more than two weeks since the day he went missing.

Renowned crime expert Peter Bleksley said if media reports prove to be true then it was “deeply worrying”. Two plainclothes officers in forensic-style blue slip-ons over their shoes were reportedly seen searching Casa Abuela Tina on Tuesday (July 2).

Listed on AirBnB at £40 per night, the property in the remote village of Masca in north west Tenerife was where Mr Slater, 19, stayed the night before he vanished.

Mr Bleksley told Express.co.uk: “If the reports are true that officers were seen leaving an AirBnB and removing forensic overshoes, as has all come out, then that is deeply, deeply worrying.

“When they (Spanish police) were focused on searching rugged terrain there were no stories of full forensic examinations going on at any premises or vehicles.

“You would expect this in a similar case in Britain, but we have seen none of that, not a shred of it. Instead we have heard about two men being completely ruled out by the Guardia Civil at the early stages of their enquiries. They said they are considering all possibilities, but their actions do not suggest that.”

He accused the Guardia Civil of paying lip service to their assurance nothing was being ruled out, adding: “It appears they are trying to retrace their steps, perhaps looking at things they should have done two weeks ago.”

Mr Slater travelled to Tenerife with two pals and went missing on June 17 after leaving the NRG music festival in a car with two British men he met that night.

They travelled to the holiday rental cottage in Masca where the apprentice bricklayer was later seen walking up a steep road in the early hours of June 17. He is believed to have been attempting to walk to his accommodation, which was 11 hours away on foot.

Spanish police have insisted the two men seen with Mr Slater, from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, “don’t have any relevance” to a case they are still treating as a missing persons enquiry.

Mr Bleksley, who has long argued all options should be kept open in relation to Jay’s case, said of the reported forensics visit: “You only get one chance to get right the collection and retention of forensic evidence. Have they let that opportunity pass them by?

“It appears they put all their eggs in one basket. These errors could be catastrophic and we could find ourselves in a Madeleine McCann situation.”

He explained that in the wake of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance in May 2007 from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, key sites went unsecured, putting forensic evidence at risk of being destroyed or damaged.

Tenerife’s Guardia Civil told Express.co.uk that to date there is no indication of criminal activity so Mr Slater is still being treated as a missing person.

A spokeswoman for the force pointed to efforts at the weekend to find the youngster, adding nothing had been found despite a “massive” search involving about 30 people.

While the search was called off afterwards, officers continue to investigate, according to Guardia Civil.

Mr Bleksley accused the force of being too quick to dismiss the two men from their investigation. He said: “In a case where there are mysterious circumstances, think murder until proven otherwise. That rule appears to have been completely ignored. Don’t rule out anything until you have established the truth.”

He suggested Jay travelling with two men to a remote part of the island after only just meeting at the festival was odd. He added: “A young man getting into a vehicle with two men unknown to him who did not fit the festival-goer demographic. That should have rung alarm bells in my mind.”

The former detective warned that the longer the mystery goes unsolved, the less likely there will be a happy outcome.

His assessment comes after Mr Slater’s mum, Debbie Duncan spoke of her agony in a heart-wrenching statement issued through the British overseas missing persons charity LBT Global.

The distraught mum said: “Words cannot describe the pain and agony we are experiencing. He is our beautiful boy with his whole life ahead of him and we just want to find him.”

She praised the Guardia Civil’s efforts to locate her son, acknowledging the 12 day search which she said had involved every resource available.

Express.co.uk has contacted the Guardia Civil for comment.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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