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Five Years On And No Word - Daily Mirror, 31st January 2000

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Title: Five Years On And No Word
Publication: Daily Mirror
Date: Monday 31st January 2000
Writer: Jason Lamport

Family of missing Manic star Richey keep hopes alive

An abandoned Vauxhall Cavalier, a British passport, prescription drugs and a pounds 2.70 Severn Bridge toll receipt are still the only clues to missing Manic star Richey Edwards.

The man who once told a music mag he wanted to be a hibernating animal disappeared exactly five years ago tomorrow.

Neither his family, nor the band, are ever likely to forget February 1, 1995 - the day Richey vanished from the world. It was the eve of the group's American debut, but guitarist Richey wasn't happy.

He phoned his mum Sherry to say he didn't want to go, hung up - and hasn't been seen since.

His car was found abandoned at a service station on the M4. CCTV cameras on the Severn Bridge have been scanned for clues, but the depressed star never climbed the railings.

His family are convinced he fled the pressures of fame and started a new life abroad under a false name.

Since he disappeared, Richey's share of the band's royalties have been put in his bank account - just in case.

Tomorrow, Nicky Wire, James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore will be holding a private vigil for their lost pal.

But there won't be a big get-together, no huge outpourings of grief or mass wailings in each others' arms.

Just a series of quiet telephone calls to remember Richey.

Band manager Terri Hall said: "The lads think about Richey every day. But obviously, February 1 is a very poignant day for them.

"I don't think they have anything planned. They will just remember him in their own private way.

"They live in London, Bristol and Cardiff so will probably just give each other a ring for a chat.

"They still miss him - many people do - and I guess they too hope he will walk into their lives again one day."

But the boys never get their hopes up, unlike Richey's devastated family.

His sister Rachel, who lives near her parents in Blackwood, Gwent, has scoured the country looking for her brother.

She's contacted every coast guard and monastery in the country and makes regular appeals through the Missing Person's Helpline.

"Before he vanished he had become obsessed with the perfect disappearance," said 30-year-old Rachel.

"It would have not been hard for him to get fake credentials, especially if he had done his homework.

"I think people forget that when a relative walks out of your life, it goes on hold.

"You can never really move forward without knowing what happened to someone you love so much."

Like the Manics fame, the Scotland Yard case file on the missing member grows by the day.

Rachel is in constant contact with police and coroners across the UK.

She knows none have dealt with an unidentified body matching her brother's description and is hopeful he will one day be found.

Last year Richey's parents called off a trip to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands after an alleged sighting proved unfounded. Barmaid Tracey Jones said she saw the missing musician in the Underground Bar on the island.

She said: "A man shouted, 'You, Richey Edwards' and pointed to a bloke in the bar who ran out."

Richey's dad Graham booked tickets for the three-hour flight but cancelled as the details of the alleged sighting got more and more sketchy.

Sherry said: "We were going because we needed to know the truth, but there was nothing in it.

"One of the people who said they spotted Richard vanished into thin air and the other was a barmaid.

"She said the man was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. If it was Richard it would have been difficult to miss his distinctive tattoos or scars, but she never mentioned them.

"That doesn't mean to say he is not abroad somewhere else."

Richey has also been allegedly spotted on a hippy trail in Goa.

The string of mysterious sightings have taken a heavy emotional toll on his devoted family.

Care worker Rachel said: "In the beginning we spoke about him all the time. I can tell what mum and dad are thinking by the sad look in their eyes.

"Life goes on but only just. The tiniest things like a book or a picture can get us thinking.

"What we are going through is like bereavement. But unlike grief we never know when the nightmare is ever going to end."

Sentiments echoed by Richey's closest pal in the band Nicky Wire.

He said: "Every time the phone rings or there is a knock at the door, I think it could be him. There isn't a day goes by that I don't think about him."