by Kate Jackson
Missing Manic Street Preacher Richey Edwards is alive and well and playing guitar in Newcastle pubs - that's the sensational claim of a new psychic magazine.
In its current issue, Take A Break Fame and Fortune magazine quotes psychic Kevin Wade as saying that the Blackwood musician is living in the north east of England with a girlfriend.
Wade's amazing claim is the latest in a string of supposed sightings of the troubled former Manics star. These include Richey being spotted: in a hippy market in Goa; travelling around Australia; working in a bar in Fuerteventura. But none of the sightings - which the remaining band members refuse to discuss - have ever been confirmed.
A spokesman for the Manics - Nicky Wire, James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore - this week refused to comment on the latest claim.
Richey has been missing for seven years and on February 1 this year his parents, Graham and Sherry, could have agreed to him being declared legally dead. But they refused to do so.
And psychic Kevin says they are right.
He said: "They know he's not dead. And they're quite correct - he's not.
"The only regret Richey has is not getting in contact with his family, but he hasn't been able to because he didn't know if their phone was tapped or if he would be traced.
"And he doesn't want anyone else to know where he is. But when he's ready, and when he's mentally stronger, he will get in touch.
"He's doing a lot better now, and he's happy.
"In less than five years, he will let his family know he's OK." Kevin claims Richey faked his own death because he needed to escape the pressures of fame.
"No-one would recognise him now," he said. "He's got short grey hair, a small beard and he's put on some weight. He's got a scar on his face and a tattoo on his hand.
"But he's still singing and he plays guitar in the pubs around Newcastle. People might think they recognise his voice, but they can't quite put their finger on it. And he has changed his name - it's quite a normal name."
Mr Wade, who worked as a police officer for 13 years, said Richey's attempt to make his disappearance look like suicide was too obvious.
The last time he was seen, he was leaving the London Embassy Hotel, the day before the Welsh rock band were due to leave for a promotional tour of America.
His car was found at Aust service station near the Severn Bridge - a well known suicide spot.
In March this year, a pair of feet were found in the River Severn, prompting speculation they were Richey's, but tests proved they were not.
In the two weeks up to his disappearance, he withdrew £200 a day from his bank account - but it has not been touched since that day.
Kevin said: "He has thought about taking his own life, but all he wanted was a quiet life. He disappeared with a woman who is about 5ft 4in with fair hair. I believe they left the country on fake passports and headed to either Spain or America.
"After three or four years, they headed back and settled in Newcastle - the girl's home town."
Mr Wade, who has done psychic readings for the likes of dance DJ Dave Pearce and TV critic Gary Bushell - said he would be happy to meet with Richey's parents.
He said: "There are a lot of cranks out there who call themselves clairvoyants - but they're fakes.
"I'm sure Richey's parents must have had a lot of people contacting them and they must be frustrated with it. But if they met with me, I could tell them personal things about Richey which no-one else knows and that's the proof."
[Originally published: Wales On Sunday, 29 September 2002]