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Tuesday, 29 December, 1998, 18:21 GMT
Missing star's parents investigate 'sighting'
manic street preachers
The Manic Street Preachers as they are
The parents of missing Manic Street Preachers songwriter Richey Edwards are flying to the Canary Islands after reports that he was seen in a bar there.

Mr Edwards, who had a history of depression, was last seen in London in February 1995. Police found the 28-year-old's car near the Welsh side of the Severn Bridge two weeks later.

But despite fears he had committed suicide, the guitarist's body has never been found.

Graham and Cherrie Edwards, from Blackwood, Gwent, are travelling to the islands six weeks after a Tenerife newspaper said their son had been spotted on the island of Fuerteventura.

The Island Sun quoted British barmaid Tracey Jones, who works in the Underground Pub in Corralejo, as saying she saw a man who was "just like Richey" from the Manic Street Preachers.

'Within seconds he had gone'

"He just started to run towards the door and within seconds he had gone," she said.

severn bridge
Richey Edwards' car was found near the Severn Bridge
He was last seen on 1 February 1995, when he walked out of a hotel in Bayswater, London. It is known that he drove to his flat in Cardiff Bay where he left his passport and other documents, before leaving his car near the Severn Bridge.

Even though his passport was left in Wales, possible sightings have been reported around the world. In March 1997 a college lecturer reported seeing him in the Indian resort of Goa.

His fellow band members Nicky Wire, James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore have refused to accept Edwards took his own life, and have set up a trust fund for his share of the royalties from the multi-million-selling album Everything Must Go, which he co-wrote. Three of the album's songs were discovered in the hotel room which Edwards left.

Edwards missed out on the group's rise to fame in 1996, though the Manic Street Preachers had already built up an army of dedicated fans by the time he vanished.

Fans identified with him

Many identified with his history of depression. He became notorious for carving "4 REAL" in his arm with a knife when BBC Radio 1 presenter Steve Lamacq - then a music journalist - questioned the integrity of his lyrics.

He became anorexic and was admitted to hospital in the summer of 1994 with "nervous exhaustion" while the rest of the band toured without him.

But in his last interview - for a Japanese magazine in January 1995 - he seemed optimistic about the future.

He told Music Life: "The worst thing I did was to keep trying to be normal, which is how I ended up in hospital. Now I wake up in the morning, and I know what I want to do. I want to write, it makes me feel better in myself."

Nine days later he had vanished - but after nearly four years, fans and his family still refuse to give up hope of hearing more from him.

See also:

26 Aug 98 | Entertainment
Manics slated for Hillsborough song
15 Sep 98 | New Music Releases
Manic Street Preachers
12 Nov 98 | Entertainment
Missing rock star 'spotted'
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