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Missing Richey Declared Legally Dead, 13 Years On - The Western Mail, 24th November 2008

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ARTICLES:2008



Title: Missing Richey Declared Legally Dead, 13 Years On
Publication: The Western Mail
Date: Monday 24th November 2008
Writer: Catherine Mary Evans



WesternMail241108.jpg



Band supports parent's move to bring 'closure'

Missing Manic Street Preachers guitarist and songwriter Richey Edwards has been declared as presumed dead, 13 years after his disappearance, a spokeswoman for the band confirmed yesterday.

The 27-year-old Welsh musician's car was found abandoned at a notorious suicide spot near the Severn Bridge in February 1995.

Despite alleged sightings across the world, many believe Edwards, who had battled alcoholism, anorexia and self-harm, took his own life.

No body has ever been found.

His parents, Graham and Sherry Edwards, staunch Methodists from Blackwood, have now been granted a court order for him to be declared presumed dead, according to the Manic Street Preachers publicist and long-time friend Terri Hall.

Ms Hall said the move was "hugely emotional" for remaining band members James Dean Bradfield, NickyWire and Sean Moore, who have dedicated songs to Edwards and are using some of his lyrics in their new album, due out next May.

Ms Hall told yesterday's Mail on Sunday: "The band has been aware this was coming. This is the parents' choice and the band is happy to go with what the parents decide is best.

"We all dream Richey will come back one day.You hope he is still around somewhere.

"But it is no longer a realistic hope and if this offers some kind of closure then the band will be content with that."

Ms Hall added that the band were unavailable for comment as they were abroad.

Earlier this month, the Blackwood trio posted a statement on their website which read: "All the songs we are recording are lyrics left to us by Richey. Finally it feels like the right time to use them."

Edwards was last seen checking out of London's Embassy Hotel at 7am on February 1, 1995.

It is believed the guitarist and lyricist, who became notorious for carving "4 Real" into his arm in front of a journalist to demonstrate that he was a serious artist, returned to his Cardiff flat, where he left his passport, credit card and Prozac pills.

He then drove to the original Severn Bridge, where his Vauxhall Cavalier car was later found, shortly before the band were due to set off on a tour of America.

His parents, who have flown to Goa and Fuerteventura to investigate reported sightings, have been granted control of his estate, worth a reported pounds 455,990. After death duties this will be reduced to pounds 377,548.

A minimum seven-year period is required before a missing person can legally be declared dead. Edwards' parents were entitled to begin presumption of death proceedings in 2002, but refused, hoping their son had faked his own death to escape the pressures of fame and started a new life elsewhere.

The family's lawyer, David Ellis, said their change of heart reflected "an acceptance that his affairs have got to be sorted".

"That's not the same as an acceptance that he is dead," he added.

The document, issued by the Probate Registry of Wales, names Edwards' parents as executors and states he died "on or since" February 1, 1995.

Some of Edwards' friends insist he was not the type to commit suicide. In 1994, he was quoted as saying: "In terms of the S word, that does not enter my mind."