? [This is probably not as originally published!]
A year after Manic Street Preacher Richey Edwards went missing, the file on his case remains open, the officer heading the inquiry said tonight. The 26-year-old guitarist's car was found parked at services close to Severn Bridge 15 days after he was officially reported missing on February 2. He had suffered from depression, anorexia, self-mutilation and possibly alcoholism and some assumed he had killed himself.
But many of the bands' fans refuse to believe he committed suicide. His body has never been found, and tonight Detective Sergeant Stephen Moray of Harrow Road police station in London said the file was still open. "It will never close until we know exactly what happened," he said. "Suggestions he committed suicide are pure speculation. We will investigate all new evidence," he said. However, despite a Christmas television appeal by Richey's sister in his native Wales, there were "not a vast amount" of new leads, he said.
Richey's disappearance had a devastating effect on teenage fans, many of whom had identified with his depression and low self esteem. It happened less than a year after the suicide of Kurt Cobain, of American band Nirvana, which shocked rock fans worldwide. The Melody Maker's Simon Price, the last British journalist to interview Richey, is one of those who believe he is still alive. "I have nothing to base that on whatsoever, it's just an instinct, and I completely understand people who have accepted the worst," he said. Richey had taken his passport and £2,800 when he disappeared, he said, indicating he intended to live. But Price did not believe rumours that the Manic Street Preachers and Richey's family knew where he was and were keeping it secret.
Fiona Smith, of Shrink Rap, a counselling organisation for musicians, said: "If he has dropped out, it is going to give him room and give him space and maybe he will come back. That's if he has dropped out."
The band have said they will go on without him, and are currently working on a new album in France.
[Originally published: Press Association News File, 1 February 1996]