Missing Rock Star "Was Depressed Over The Death Of His Pet Dog"

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? [This is probably not as originally published!]

Police are now working on the assumption that Welsh pop star Richey James may have committed suicide.

The 28-year-old guitarist of the punk band Manic Street Preachers was last seen in February after walking out from his London hotel room.

A note was found on his bed saying simply "I love you" and was presumed to have been written for his American girlfriend.

He disappeared from the Embassy Hotel leaving all his possessions apart from his passport. He was seen by a receptionist driving off in a silver Cavalier.

Although one fan reported to police he had spotted the rock star at a bus station in Newport, Gwent, his car was later found abandoned at the Severn Bridge.

Since his disappearance the singer has drawn no money nor been in contact with his relatives in Wales. Neither has he been at his Cardiff Bay flat.

Last night a Metropolitan Police spokesman said, "Every Manic Street Preachers fan has been on the look-out for him on every street comer. But when we weigh the evidence up we have to move towards the theory he is no longer with us, although we haven't found a body yet."

The rock star from Blackwood, Gwent, was said to be depressed after the death of his 17-year-old dog Snoopy who he had grown up with. He was also in turmoil over a relationship with an American girl.

The three other band members - James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Jones and Sean Moore - are at present rehearsing without Richey but have issued a statement saying they are very concerned. Last October the band had a Top 20 hit and ironically are best known for their rendering of the MASH song "Suicide Is Painless".

[Originally published: Western Mail, 23 August 1995]