Missing Manic Ruled Out Of Feet Mystery

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South Wales Police have confirmed that a pair of trainers containing human bones washed up on a river bank, have no link to missing Manic Street Preachers singer Richey Edwards.

Detectives have now established that the blue and white Diadora trainers - found by anglers last weekend near the Second Severn Crossing - were in fact sold in 2001.

This rules out any connection with Mr Edwards who went missing in February 1995 as the band were about to embark on a US tour and on the verge of becoming a household name.

Two weeks after he walked out of a London hotel room, his Vauxhall Cavalier was found abandoned at motorway services near to the Old Severn Bridge, not far from his hometown.

Speculation that the had jumped into the river was rife.

Reports of subsequent sightings of the guitarist both home and abroad - although there has never been any confirmed information - have only added to the enduring mystery surrounding his disappearance.

His family back in Blackwood, south east Wales, have always refused to give up their quest to find the musician, who would now be 34.

And even before police had found out when the trainers were sold, Mr Edwards' sister Rachel, was adamant they were not his, even though they were his size - eight.

On Thursday, Detective Sergeant Dave Edwards - who is leading the investigation - said: "I've discussed it with Mr Edwards' sister, but she believed they were not the style her brother would have worn."

The trainers were discovered last Saturday evening by fishermen on the banks of the Severn at Sudbrook between Newport and Chepstow.

They spotted one shoe and on looking closer saw a sock and bones inside.

They called Gwent Police who searched the area the following morning and found the matching trainer - it also contained the remains of a foot.

Since then, detectives have been working with the Missing Persons Bureau in London, examining all reports of disappearances in the Gwent area.

Dogs from Sarda - Search and Rescue Dogs Association - are now joining the inquiry team to search for further remains around the Second Severn Crossing.

On Friday, Detective Sergeant Dave Edwards said officers had spoken to Diadora who said the particular model of training shoes were manufactured and distributed last year.

"This new information has obviously helped the inquiry enormously and we have been able to rule out a number of reported missing persons, including Richey Edwards from the Manic Street Preachers," he said.

"Diadora have also confirmed that only 10 outlets were supplied with these specific designed trainers.

"Officers are now looking at how many of those outlets are located in the Gwent area."

The trainers and human remains are currently being analysed by a pathologist.

It is believed the shoes - dislodged from the rest of the remains due to decomposition- had been in the water for some time and were dislodged by recent high tides.

[Originally published: bbc.co.uk/news/wales, 28 March 2002]