Frustration for Levi Davis's family as red tape holds up cops' search

Frustration for Levi Davis’s family as red tape holds up Spanish cops’ sea search for the missing X Factor star after it was revealed he is feared to have drowned

  • Bath rugby player and X Factor star went missing on 29 October in Barcelona
  • Read: Missing X Factor star Levi Davis likely drowned off Barcelona, family told

The devastated family of Levi Davis are facing more frustrating delays in finding out what has happened to the X Factor star as red tape holds up Spanish cops’ search for the missing Brit.

Spanish officials said there will be no port or sea searches for Levi, 24, in the near future because a judge investigating his disappearance is still waiting for a report from coastguards.

It comes after his mother Julie Davis revealed police told her they now believe a man spotted in difficulties in the sea by crew on a cruise liner docking in Barcelona was likely to be her son who vanished in October.

Julie criticised the delay in her receiving information about the cruise ship sighting and branded Spanish police as ‘slow’. 

Today she was facing more frustration after it was confirmed there is still no news on when and whether an exhaustive search for her missing son will take place to see if a body or other evidence pointing to his whereabouts can be found.

Former Bath rugby player Levi Davis, 24, went missing on October 29 after leaving a friend in Ibiza to get the ferry to Barcelona alone

Levi’s mother Julie Davis  (pictured together) revealed police told her they now believe a man spotted in difficulties in the sea by crew on a cruise liner docking in Barcelona hours after Levi was filmed leaving an Irish pub in the city was likely to be her son

Levi Davis (pictured) is feared to have drowned off the coast of Barcelona after leaving a bar 

A Spanish judge would have to authorise the search of the waters and other areas around Barcelona port.

Overnight sources at the High Court of Justice of Catalonia confirmed: ‘The investigating judge is waiting for a coastguard report informing on everything that’s been done.

‘There’s no request by the judge for any type of search at present. Once this report is received, the following steps will be considered.’

Another well-placed source, explaining the investigating judge’s role in the case, added: ‘When cases have been judicialized as this one has, the judge decides on things as and when they’re requested.

‘Once the judge receives the report and sees what work the local coastguards have done, he’ll be able to decide whether he can approve new procedures or not.’

The revelation means the ongoing probe into Levi’s disappearance will almost certainly have moved no further forwards by the weekend when he will have been missing for six months.

CCTV footage showed him leaving the Old Irish Pub near Barcelona’s La Rambla around 10pm on October 29 after taking a boat from Ibiza with just 40 euros (£35) and no change of clothes. 

Detectives have told Levi’s family they have now discovered his phone signal was last picked up in the early hours of October 30 by a telephone mast at the far end of the port closest to the sea entrance.

It had previously been thought his mobile phone, which hasn’t been used since his disappearance, was last pinged close to the city’s main Sants railway station.

Julie said the regional Mossos d’Esquadra police had also told her they believed her son was likely to be the man four members of cruise liner MSC Bellissima, which docked in Barcelona around the same time, had seen in the sea wearing the same light-coloured top as Levi and shouting for help in English.

A lifebuoy was thrown to him and coastguards in Barcelona mobilised their helicopter called Helimer 203 and a vessel called Salvamar Mintaka.

A boat operated by firefighters was also sent to the scene along with police and Red Cross vessels.

The search operation is said to have lasted an entire day but was called off after it was confirmed no-one was missing from the cruise liner and police confirmed no-one had been reported missing in port waters or in the sea off Barcelona.

Levi’s disappearance had not been reported to police at the time and his passport was not found near a cargo shipment at the port until days later.

CCTV shows Davis leaving an Irish bar in Barcelona on October 29 

Catalan police launched a search off their own backs on November 8 before receiving an official missing persons’ report from an Ibiza-based friend of Levi’s on November 12.

Police investigators admitted they were treating his disappearance as ‘disturbing’ in February as they confirmed the case had been placed in the hands of a specialist crime unit which is working with the investigating judge.

A spokesman for the Mossos d’Esquadra confirmed at the time there had been a significant change in the way the probe was now being conducted as he offered a more detailed insight into why the shift had taken place.

He said: ‘This case was initially investigated by a group of officers at the police station the disappearance was first reported to in Barcelona.

‘That’s the general procedure in cases where there are no obvious or very evident signs a disappearance is linked to a crime.

‘Now this case is being led by a specialist investigative unit based in Barcelona.

‘With the information at our disposal, it doesn’t appear that this person has gone missing voluntarily and doesn’t want to be found.

‘We’re dealing with an adult male whose disappearance doesn’t have a logical explanation and which we’re therefore treating as disturbing.

‘It doesn’t necessarily mean he’s been the victim of a crime and it’s important to clarify that the group that’s now investigating this person’s disappearance is not a murder squad or homicide unit because that would mean there is a probability or certainty he is dead.

‘What it is is a unit which has been tasked with this case following the initial investigation by officers at the station where this person was reported missing.

‘It’s a higher level of investigation now and a more specialist investigation.’

Davis starred on Celebrity X Factor in 2019 alongside fellow rugby stars Ben Foden and Thom Evans in a singing group known as Try Star. He was also on E4’s Celebs Go Dating in 2020

The police revelation followed claims Levi, due to turn 25 last month, was £100,000 in debt to Somali criminals and Levi said he had been blackmailed over a sex tape and his life was in danger in a chilling last video he recorded shortly before vanishing.

Julie Davis questioned earlier this week why the information about the cruise ship staff was only coming out months later.

Voicing her exasperation at the way the search was being conducted in Spain she added: ‘I don’t know what to believe anymore.

‘I know the Spanish police can be slow but I can’t make head nor tail of it.

‘There’s lots of answers to questions that I need to know.

‘It’s disheartening when you ask police questions and get very limited feedback.’

Levi played Premiership rugby union for Bath between 2017 and 2020, when he joined Ealing Trailfinders. A year later he signed for Worthing Raiders.

The rugby player-turned-reality star performed on X Factor: Celebrity in 2019 with fellow rugby players Ben Foden and Thom Evans as part of the group Try Star. In 2020 he appeared on E4 dating series Celebs Go Virtual Dating and became the first rugby union player to come out as bisexual.

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