Jailed drug dealer pal of missing Jay Slater was known as ‘Whispers’

It is approaching a month since teenager Jay Slater went missing in Tenerife. As his family continue to search for him, the Mirror has unearthed another piece of the puzzle

Ayub Qassim was one of the last people to see Jay Slater before he went missing on June 17(western mail)

The jailed drug dealer pal of missing Jay Slater was known as “Whispers” by his criminal associates, the Mirror can reveal.

Ayub Qassim, 31, was one of the last people to see apprentice bricklayer Jay, 19, before he vanished in Tenerife last month. Now Rhoda Singh, 59, said she was “shocked” to discover Qassim was a key witness in the hunt. Cardiff-born Rhoda appeared in court on drugs charges nine years ago with Qassim, who also uses the nickname “Johnny Vegas”. Qassim has been identified as the mystery man who drove missing teen Jay to an isolated property in the mountains of the holiday island.

Rhoda said: “I knew him as Whispers but it’s definitely the same person – I should know we were in court together. We’ve lost touch over the last couple of years but Whispers is a quiet, polite and gentle fella, he’s not a murderer or anything like that. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, they called him Whispers because of his quiet soft voice.”

Jay’s family are still searching for their missing relative after the police called off their search(Family Handout/LBT Global/PA)

Jay, from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, has not been seen or heard of since he vanished an hour from Playa de las Americas. His last post was a Snapchat of a mosaic-tiled doorstep at Casa Abuela Tina with his hand holding a cigarette. After leaving the Airbnb – which had been booked by Qassim – later on the morning of June 17, he made a panicked phone call to a friend and hasn’t been seen since. Qassim has hit out at speculation over his involvement in the mystery case and insists he has “nothing to hide”.

He was put behind bars in 2015 as the ringleader of a London-based gang dealing heroin and crack cocaine in Cardiff. Rhoda still lives in the two-bedroomed terraced house in Split, Cardiff, which was raided by 30 cops in October 2014. Qassim was jailed for nine years but heroin addict Rhoda was let off with a suspended sentence for allowing her home to be used by the London-based drugs gang.

Jay Slater’s brother Zac Slater and dad Warren Slater are continuing the search (Stan Kujawa)

She said: “The judge took a liking to me and realised I was quite innocent of what was going on. Whispers and his gang were based around the corner from me – I know it sounds unlikely but they just happened to be in my house at the time. I first met Whispers while clubbing with friends in London, then we saw each other again when he came to Cardiff. He never operated from my home but the police saw him and his mates come in here and the next thing the door was being kicked down.”

Rhoda was given a Drug Rehabilitation Order at Cardiff Crown Court and has been clean of heroin ever since. She is now battling lung cancer and her weight is down to five-and-a-half stone. Rhoda said: “I haven’t heard from Whispers for a few years. He used to ring me from prison to make sure I was OK. I think he felt bad that I got caught up in what was going on in his life. I was on heroin for 20 years but I wasn’t involved in dealing or anything. I didn’t know he was in Tenerife or that he is now nicknamed Johnny Vegas, he will always be Whispers to me.”

Jay was last heard of by a friend, who received a panicked call from the missing teen(Instagram)

Rhoda’s only previous conviction was possession of a small amount of cannabis for her personal use when she was 19. She lives with her partner, retired taxi driver Les Jay, 64, in Kilcattan Street, Splott, where police kicked the door in 10 years ago.

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Jailed drug dealer pal of missing Jay Slater was known as ‘Whispers’:

It is approaching a month since teenager Jay Slater went missing in Tenerife. As his family continue…