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"We'll Not Give Up On Richey" - Daily Mirror, 1st February 2002

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Title: "We'll Not Give Up On Richey"
Publication: Daily Mirror
Date: Friday 1st February 2002
Writer: Brendon Williams

7 years on...but the missing Manic's parents still hope.

Richey Edwards neatly packed his favourite belongings for the final time.

He boxed up books, pictures and a video of his favourite film, Equus, and put them on a bedside table of room 516 in London's Embassy Hotel.

A scrawled note reading 'I love you' was attached to the parcel, along with a photo of a mystery house and a drawing of Bugs Bunny.

Then, at 7am on February 1, 1995, Richey Edwards checked out -never to be seen again.

Seven agonising years later the family of the missing Manic Street Preacher are clinging to the hope he is still alive.

Under British law, Richey can be officially declared dead today, and his estimated pounds 1.5m royalties can be passed on to his next of kin.

But his mum and dad, Graham and Sherry, say they will never ask for a death certificate - because they believe he is still alive.

Dad Graham, from Blackwood, Gwent, told the Welsh Mirror: "We want our son back - not the money.

"We will never declare him dead. As far as we are concerned he is still alive and we've always felt that way."

Since guitarist Richey's disappearance seven years ago today, the Manics have enjoyed huge success and critical acclaim.

The band have paid Richey's share of the royalties into a trust fund ever since.

Graham added: "The trust fund will be staying exactly as it is.

"Because this is the seventh anniversary of Richey's disappearance we're aware some sections of the press are speculating about his affairs.

"But as far as we are concerned he remains a missing person and we are still hoping and praying that some day he will return to his family and friends."

There have been countless alleged sightings of the missing Manic all over the world since he went missing. But not one has ever been proven and his family have put them down to "speculation".

Police remain baffled by the star's disappearance.

PC Coleman of the Metropolitan Police's missing persons' bureau, who led the hunt for Richey, said: "It's just very strange that there's been no body turn up that matches his description - and that includes all of his tattoos.

"But there have been no sightings either. It's a real mystery."

PC Coleman said all new leads would be investigated, even now.

He added: "I know the family will want the file to be kept open on Richey as a missing person."

This month, Graham and Sherry will join with Richey's sister Rachel in a new appeal for their son to come home.

A letter from Sherry will be published in The Big Issue, a magazine sold to help the homeless.

Sherry said: "We're his parents and won't give up on him. Once you give up hope you have reached the end.

"Until we know for certain what has happened we will always stay hopeful Richard is still alive.

"None of us really know what happened to him, he could be anywhere. But each day is as tortuous as the last."

The day after Richey went missing, the Manics called the police and hired a private detective.

While Richey's details were circulated to police forces around the country, bass player Nicky Wire and Richey's father visited the star's flat in Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff.

Police broke in and found his passport, his credit card, some prescription drugs and a receipt for the Severn Bridge - which indicated they had missed him by just a few hours.

Later investigations revealed Richey had been withdrawing pounds 200-a-day from his bank account for the two weeks before January 31 - pounds 2,800 in all.

Two weeks after he vanished, Richey's silver Vauxhall Cavalier was found at the Aust Service Station near Chepstow. No-one knows how long it had been there.

The battery was flat and there was evidence it had been "lived in". A carrier bag of family photos was inside the car.

The service station is close to the Severn Bridge - a notorious suicide spot.

But Richey's bandmates saw the discovery of his car as a positive sign.

Singer James Dean Bradfield said: "The conclusion you come to from that is that he couldn't have used the car much more.

"So if he left it until the 14th and the battery was flat, perhaps he just walked off and hitch-hiked. There are myriad options."

And Nicky Wire added: "If it had been there from the day he went missing, then I think it's pretty likely that he'd be dead.

"But I don't think he was there that day. The battery was flat because he'd been playing tapes and everything. It's pretty clear that he'd been sleeping in the car, that's for sure."