'My son hasn't been seen since he went missing in Ibiza - I know how Jay Slater's parents must feel'

A British father whose son has not been seen since he went missing in Ibiza four years ago has told of the "never-ending nightmare" and "absolute torture" Jay Slater's parents will be going through.

Mark Garland's son Ben had been out for a ride on his Harley Davidson motorbike to film waves near Portinatx on the north of the island before he disappeared on 21 January 2020.

His jacket was found in the water three days later, and Mr Garland believes his son was swept out to sea.

The disappearance of British teenager Mr Slater, who was last seen in northern Tenerife on Monday 17 June, has reminded Mr Garland of the "traumatic" days he experienced when his own son first went missing.

Mr Slater's parents have flown out to Tenerife to help police and mountain rescuers search for their 19-year-old son on the north of the island's rugged terrain.

Reflecting on his own experience of arriving in Ibiza after Ben went missing, Mr Garland told Sky News: "It's the not knowing, it's a never-ending nightmare, it's torture, absolute torture. It's something I wouldn't wish on anybody.

"Jay's parents will be feeling empty, they're going to be tired. They will be confused, they will just be wanting answers.

"It's such a traumatic experience."

Asked if he had any advice for Mr Slater's parents, he said: "I would tell them never give up and to get some sleep, that's the main thing. I didn't sleep properly, I was absolutely worn out every single day, physically and emotionally.

"I hope and pray Jay is found safe and well."

Mr Garland, who lives in the Wiltshire village of Southwick, said that during a three to four-week period in the search for Ben, police found around 20 bodies in the water, but not one of them was his son.

Ben had been working as a deckhand on a luxury yacht at the time he went missing and was known to many of the locals in Ibiza.

Mr Garland says he visits the island once a year to speak with them and remember his son.

Speaking about his years-long struggle with grief, the bus driver said: "It's a pain you can't describe to anybody. Unless that person is going through something similar. I struggle to get out of bed every day.

"Work is my best therapy, because I know I have to get up, because I know I have to pay bills and everything else.

"But when I'm not working, I struggle to get out of bed. I know I need counselling, but I'm too stubborn.

"I'm not over it and I never will be."

Read more:
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Mr Garland praised the efforts of police in Ibiza and said they "never gave up" on his son.

He now organises a yearly motorbike event called "Ride To The Tide: The Ben Garland Memorial Run" - which raises money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Mr Garland said: "It's just our way of memorialising Ben and remembering him. It's one of my happy days of the year."

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What were Jay Slater's last known movements?

Mr Slater had been holidaying with friends in southern Tenerife before travelling to the northwestern mountain village of Masca with two people he met at the NRG music festival on Sunday 16 June.

The teenager, from Oswaldtwistle near Blackburn in Lancashire, told a friend over the phone at 8:30am the following morning that he was walking back to his holiday accommodation after missing a bus - a journey that would take 11 hours on foot.

He also said he was lost, in need of water, and only had 1% charge on his phone.

The last person to see Mr Slater was Masca resident Ofelia Medina Hernandez who spoke to the teenager on Monday 17 June.

Ms Hernandez said she told him a bus was due at 10am as he seemingly hoped to get back to his accommodation.

However, he set off walking - and she said she later drove past him while he was "walking fast".

Tenerife police confirmed on Tuesday that several dogs from Madrid would be joining the search and rescue effort.