Missing rugby and X Factor star Levi Davis ‘was £100,000 in debt to Somali mafia and was convinced they had tried to POISON him before he vanished in Spain’

  • Former Bath rugby player Levi Davis went missing on October 29 in Barcelona
  • He was in huge debt due to his party lifestyle, a Catalan newspaper reported

Missing rugby and X Factor star Levi Davis was around £100,000 in debt to the Somali mafia and was convinced they had tried to poison him before he vanished in Spain, it was claimed on Wednesday.  

Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia said the 24-year-old, who disappeared in Barcelona nearly three months ago, had got himself into huge debt after his party lifestyle spiralled out of control.

An unnamed member of the team of private detectives put together by the British investigator hired by Davis’s distraught family, Gavin Burrows, was quoted by the paper as saying: ‘Davis came to Barcelona fleeing from these criminals. He had adopted a frenzied lifestyle and was in a very delicate situation.

‘The truth is he was sure they were chasing him. In fact he was convinced they had tried to poison him on one occasion.’

Pictured left: A beach photo of Levi Davis. This was among the beach photos captured by the star’s photographer friend Adetodkunbo Adetona, to go with Levi’s second music single – Los Angeles – which was due to be released in November 

Now his mother Julie Davis (pictured with an image of herself and Levi) says a private detective working on the case has uncovered that the 5ft 9in rugby star may have been kidnapped by criminals from London in a dispute over money, in what they believe could be a major breakthrough

The amount he owed was put at around £102,000.

The Somali mafia debt claims surfaced in Spain as it emerged his family were pressing Spanish police to investigate a possible drowning in Barcelona’s port before Levi’s passport was found nearby. Fears grew that he could have been lured into a trap after arranging to meet someone he had met on social media.

Good Morning Britain (GMB) said early Wednesday morning that Burrows had told the programme he feared Levi may have drowned in Barcelona port.

GMB reporter Nick Dixon mentioned the port area incident, noting that it happened shortly after Levi was last seen. 

Dixon added: ‘A man was in the water in distress in the port area close to a nearby cruise ship.

‘A search was carried out but no body was found and everyone was accounted for, at least on the cruise ship.

‘But it was some time later that the police realised Levi’s passport was found in that same area.’

The incident was also flagged in overnight reports in Spain, which said workers on the cruise ship had alerted the authorities someone was in the sea but the search was suspended soon afterwards because none of the passengers or crew on board were missing.

Levi’s Ibiza-based friend Richard Squire formally reported him missing a few days later after his family informed West Midlands Police he had vanished.

Barcelona police confirmed on November 22 last year that his passport had been found in the city port after Levi’s mother Julie revealed it had turned up.

MailOnline obtained CCTV footage showing rugby star Levi Davis leaving the Old Irish Pub on the bustling La Rambla street on October 29 at 10.05pm

Speaking of his fears the missing Brit could have been entrapped by someone on social media, and appearing to explain a mystery Bizum payment Levi was said to have made the day he vanished, the unnamed investigator told La Vanguardia: ‘We know a friend sent him £30 on Bizum so he could play for a place to sleep in.

‘And we also know he intended meeting a person he had met on social media, a person he had never actually seen, a person who could give us very valuable information about what occurred.

‘Unfortunately we only have a nickname to go on.

Missing posters have been plastered all over Barcelona in an effort to find Levi Davis

‘Perhaps it was nothing more than bait offered by the mafia who were looking for him. We can’t rule out any hypothesis.’ 

Levi was taking a break in Europe after being sidelined from rugby following a knee injury.

He was picked up on CCTV leaving the Old Irish Pub near Barcelona’s La Rambla around 10pm on October 29, a few hours after taking a boat from Ibiza with just £35 and no change of clothes. 

Squire described his decision to leave the island as ‘sudden.’

Levi Davis’ mum Julie broke down in tears on Wednesday morning on Good Morning Britain as she recalled the last hug she gave her son before he left for Spain.

She said: ‘There’s always that mother’s instinct. And just before he left there was a message that, I don’t know, maybe powers up above, that said to me, “Give him a hug because you just don’t know if it’s going to be your last.”

After wiping away tears from her eyes, she revealed her frustration at finding out CCTV footage that could have played a vital part in the investigation into Levi’s disappearance had been erased because of delays.

Levi was reported missing to West Midlands Police shortly after he vanished on October 29 last year but Spanish police waited until hours before he was formally reported missing to them days later by an Ibiza-based friend before they began investigating.

Explaining the effect of this and other delays, Levi’s emotional mum said: ‘I’ve had a lot of support from family and friends and of course the private investigators have been working very hard and the Spanish police have done their bit as well.

Mr Davis travelled on a ferry from Ibiza to Barcelona from where he went missing 

‘But where I think it’s been difficult is not having the information come through. There’s the language barrier of course and having to go via the British consulate before and then the feedback with news updates is very slow, very slow.

‘I know the British consulate are pressing but in terms of the updates and the CCTV coverage it’s frustrating.

‘We got information back saying unfortunately it’s too late because the Spanish police had to go to court to get paperwork signed so they could access the CCTV.

‘By the time they did get it all the video had been deleted. It’s very frustrating.’

Last month Levi’s mum said Burrows had uncovered information that the former Bath rugby player, who starred on Celebrity X Factor in 2019, may have been kidnapped in Barcelona by British gangsters.

She said the investigator had received an exclusive tip her son had got into a dispute with criminals two years ago while he was playing rugby for Ealing Trailfinders in 2020.

She told Mail Online: ‘We desperately need to know more because this could change the whole nature of the investigation.’ 

‘The anonymous tip was given to private investigators who are helping police look for Levi.

Mr 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 person was very cagey and revealed very little details other than to say that ‘persons in the UK are involved in Levi’s disappearance’ and that it stems from a falling out he apparently had with a gang in London when he played rugby there.

‘I do know of some difficulties he had with some people who showed up to his flat in Ealing but don’t know what the disagreement was about or how serious it was.

‘But this is a very important piece of information to come to light and the police in Barcelona are aware.’

Burrows added: ‘We’ve received several anonymous pieces of information that point to the fact that Levi’s disappearance is not voluntary.

‘There are definitely people in both London and Barcelona who know what’s happened to him and we are following the leads we have been given.’

Levi’s family and friends are growing increasingly worried for his safety.

He has not been seen since leaving the Old Irish Pub on Barcelona’s bustling La Rambla in October.

Security cameras caught him leaving the bar, where he had enjoyed a pint while watching football, at 10.05pm.

He walked the short distance north on La Rambla to the Hard Rock Cafe where the trail has gone cold.

Police say Levi has still not used his phone nor either of his two bank accounts in the nearly three months he has been missing.

There have been no credible sightings of him and his passport was found by police in November, meaning he is unable to travel, rent accommodation or even book into a hotel.

Levi had only been in Barcelona for three hours, having arrived at the ferry port at 7pm following an eight-hour crossing from Ibiza, where he had been on holiday with friends.

The last time his phone signal was picked up was close to the city’s Sants mainline train station overnight on October 29, which is just over two miles from the Old Irish Pub, which Mr Davis visited for just 35 minutes. 

He ordered a pint of Heineken and watched the Liverpool vs Leeds game on television as well as a live singer before leaving, according to the barmaid who served him.

Levi twice sent his mother video messages shortly before his disappearance. One on the ferry and another while he was watching the singer perform in the Old Irish Pub.

Security cameras caught him heading out the venue – towards the Hard Rock Cafe – carrying a small black rucksack and wearing a white short-sleeved T-shirt, black trousers and black and white trainers.

Missing posters have been plastered all over the Catalan city in an urgent appeal for information of his whereabouts.

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

He 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.

Levi’s family have set up a GoFundMe page to appeal for donations to help continue the search.

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