Seven years ago Richey Edwards disappeared..but what sparked the descent of a genius?
Jody Thompson stared in disbelief as the young rock star slashed his forearm with a razor blade.
Richey Edwards was being interviewed by Radio One DJ Steve Lamacq backstage at a Manic Street Preachers concert in Norwich in 1991 and was asked about the band's integrity.
He did not flinch as he carved out the words "4 REAL" and blood poured from the 15 deep gashes in his left arm which needed 40 stitches.
It was one of a series of bizarre incidents - at a concert in Bangkok in 1994 he slashed himself 10 times across the chest with a knife - which culminated in Richey's mysterious disappearance on February 1 a year later.
The guitarist's self-mutilation in 1991 was witnessed by New Musical Express news manager Jody.
She said: "It seemed as normal to him as having a cup of tea. He just got a razor blade and started slashing his arm.
"He was bleeding everywhere. Steve Lamacq seemed to be in shock.
"For me, the full horror didn't sink in. He'd sliced his arm up and it just seemed surreal.
"I was quite angry. I'd lost a friend to suicide as a teenager and I thought he was trivialising life," she said.
"I bandaged him up but he wouldn't allow anyone to phone for an ambulance.
"I took him to the hospital myself, but on the way we had to drop the rest of the band off at the hotel and we went to get some chips.
"It was like nothing to Richey. When we got to the hospital, he wouldn't let the nurses attend to him until everybody else in the waiting room had been seen first.
"It was very nasty. I'm very squeamish and his arm looked just like a raw sausage roll that had been split open."
DJ Lamacq said a lot of people had asked him why he had not tried to stop Richey.
He said: "At first, I didn't even notice because he was maintaining eye contact, so I never looked down.
"And also, I did feel a strange fascination with what he was doing. I couldn't make out what he was writing.
"He didn't look in any pain whatsoever."
When the journalist went to summon help, the group's manager Philip Hall said: "It's all right. He gets like that after gigs."
And Manics drummer Sean Moore said at the time: "The only people who are disturbed by Richey cutting himself are those that don't know him." Richey's choice of inscription "4 REAL" has always been thought to refer to Lamacq's question about the band's integrity.
Richey told him: "We are for real. When I was a teenager, I never had a band who said anything about my life.
"That's why were doing this."
Despite alleged sightings of Richey in Goa, Fuerteventura and across the UK, Jody said last night she fears Richey is dead.
"The evidence does seem to point towards Richey jumping off the Severn Bridge," she said.
"I think he killed himself back in 1995 and his body has probably been washed away to sea.
"I'm sorry to have to say that. For the sake of his family, I hope that I am wrong - but I have given this a lot of careful consideration and I think that's probably what has happened."
"Whatever people might think or say they have seen, none of these sightings have ever been confirmed.
"There is a school of thought that he could be living anonymously in a monastery, but Richey has never struck me as being the religious type.
"Some of his lyrics are so black, and there is a self-destructive pattern of behaviour that goes way back. There's the alcohol abuse and the self-mutilation which is well documented.
"The band still hope he will come back and they have put aside a quarter of their royalties for him."