by Andy Richardson
1995 is drawing to a close without a positive sighting of Richey Edwards. But what has come to light since his disappearance in February? VOX examines the police files, uncovers new information and reveals a disturbing picture of a soul on the edge...
"In terms of the 'S' word, that does not enter my mind. And it never has done. In terms of An Attempt. Because I am stronger than that. I might be a weak person, but I can take pain." - Richey James Edwards, September 1994
A blue ringbound folder lies on the table of a small interview room at Harrow Road Police Station, in London W9. Detective Sergeant Stephen Morey opens the folder, leafs through the pages and picks out form number 584(C). He scans it and places it on the table.
The form is a Missing Persons document. At the top is the subject's name, Richard Edwards, his height, 5ft 8ins, birthdate, 27/12/67, and birthplace, Blackwood, in Gwent. There is a section called 'Marks, scars, tattoos, physical peculiarities' which lists the 'Useless Generation' emblem on Edwards' left arm. Other sections include habits - Edwards smokes - and the date of the report, 2/2/95.
The last box is titled 'Circumstances' and reads: "Subject is a member of band - was staying in London Embassy Hotel with another band member before flying to USA on business. Subject was seen by hotel staff leaving hotel on 1/2/95 at 07.00 hours and has not been seen since. His passport is missing but all his belongings are still in his hotel room."
On the back of the form are additional notes which describe how Edwards left a gift and a letter saying 'I Love You' for a female friend. The police note says: "Apparently subject would like to have a relationship with (her)."
Form 584 (C) ends with the words: "Subject has made a previous suicide attempt and is taking anti-depressants." It was filled in by Manic Street Preachers manager Martin hall, a day after Edwards went missing.
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At 7 AM on February 1, 1995, Richard James Edwards walked out of the Embassy Hotel in Bayswater Road, West London. Behind him, in hotel room 516, he left a packed suitcase, toiletries, a bottle of Prozac and, in the centre of his unmade bed, a carefully wrapped box with small quotes stuck to the side. Next to the box was a three-word note saying 'I Love You'. This was for a 19-year-old London girl, Jo, Edwards' unrequited love. Edwards frequently exchanged presents with her, though their relationship was platonic.
He spoke about her in his final interview on January 23 with Japanese magazine Music Life. In it, he said: "I've only really been involved with one girl. I can speak to her more naturally than to anyone else. It means somethitig. But I've never told her I love her. I've known her for years, but I've only kissed her once... Once, twice. That's all. How can I explain? When I love somebody, I feel sort of trapped."
The box was opened by Martin Hall and inside was a collection of books. The Manics' press officer Gillian Porter, of PR firm Hall Or Nothing, said: "The box was wrapped and there were little quotes on the side, but that was what he used to do. We opened the box to see whether there was anything inside that might lead us to him, or offer any clues. Then we gave it to Jo."
Edwards drove along the M5 in his silver Vauxhall Cavalier to his flat at Anson Court, Cardiff. When he arrived, he went inside, left his passport, credit cards and another bottle of Prozac, then returned to his car and drove away.
That afternoon Edwards was due to fly to the US with Manic Street Preachers' frontman James Dean Bradfield for a series of interviews and record company meet'n'greets. A 36-date North American tour was to have followed, starting at the DPC in Tucson, Arizona, on February 22 and ending on April 9 at the Mason Jar in Phoenix, Arizona.
Martin Hall spent February 1 contacting Edwards' friends and family, but to no avail. His parents Sherry and Graham last saw him on January 23 and last spoke to him by telephone on January 31.
Hall cancelled the promotional tour and, on February 2, visited Harrow Road Police Station to report Edwards missing. He drove to Blackwood and searched Edwards' flat with Edwards' father, Graham. They found papers which proved Edwards had been home, though there were no other clues. The police report reads: "There were no signs of Edwards or any note left to indicate he may have harmed himself."
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The following morning, Sherry and Graham Edwards placed an advert in their local newspaper saying: "Richard, please make contact. Love Mum, Dad and Rachel." Hall's company, Hall Or Nothing, hired a private investigator to check hotels, ports, airports and hospitals, but the search was fruitless.
Hall Or Nothing also contacted Edwards' local bank, which said he had not used his account since January 31, though he had withdrawn £200 a day on the 14 previous days.
On February 15, Graham Edwards decided to go public. South Wales Police issued a press statement which read: "Richard's family, hand members and friends are concerned for his safety and welfare and stress that no pressure would be put on him to return if he does not wish to. They stress that his privacy will be respected at all times."
Hall Or Nothing issued a separate statement. It read: "Richard's family, the band and management are unavailable for comment, and we would like to ask you to respect their privacy and for your help and sensitivity regarding this matter."
At least 30 newspapers, magazines and radio stations covered the story. Manics' bassist Nicky Wire said: "If Richey does not want to come back, then that is fine. We just want him to give us a call. We are genuinely worried. He has never disappeared like this before." Graham Edwards spoke to Radio 1 and appealed for his son to phone home.
Richey's best friend Byron Harris said: "Richey would never do anything without a reason. He is a very intelligent man. He wouldn't just disappear like this under normal circumstances."
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Edwards had a long history of depression. At infants' school he believed that people were against him, in adolescence he was shy and withdrawn, and at the age of 14 he declared his first hero, IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. Edwards said: "[Sands] made a better statement than anything else that was going on at the time because it was against himself."
Around this time Edwards was also forced to attend church regularly, though Nicky Wire believes he hated it. Wire said: "He's always had this thing about it. I've never really talked to him about it, but he's always made out that it really pissed him off and fucked him up."
During his teens, Edwards grew distant from his father and went to live with his nan for a short time. He had few friends, though he was close to James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire (né: Jones), and Sean Moore, who all went to Oakdale Comprehensive School.
When Edwards started his Political History course at Cardiff University he began drinking vodka to help him sleep and also to block out the threat that he felt from the town's yob culture. He also retained the brother-like bonds with Bradfield, Wire and Moore, who visited him regularly. Edwards hated his fellow students and spent much of his time avoiding them.
"To hole myself up in a tower block with hundreds of people I had nothing in common with was a really bad experience," he said. "I think if I'd been able to have a flat of my own, my memory would've been very different because I've never been good with very many different people. I've always surrounded myself with just a very few people."
By the time of his finals he was fasting as a form of self-control, and his weight had dipped beneath seven stones. Edwards also started cutting himself in front of other people, including his friend Bradfield. "The first time I ever saw Richey cutting himself was in university, revising for his finals," says Bradfield. "And he just got a compass and went like that [draws invisible blade across arm]."
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Edwards joined the Manics as a driver during the summer of 1989. In December he joined the band, replacing former rhythm guitarist Flicker, shortly after the release of their self-financed debut single, 'Suicide Alley'. Edwards was a novice guitarist, though the other three decided he was charismatic enough to fill the role. He also took on lyric-writing responsibilities with Wire.
In 1990, Manic Street Preachers made their music press debut, telling the NME: "We don't display our wounds, we shove them in people's faces. We are the decaying flowers in the playgrounds of the rich. We are young, beautiful scum pissed off with the world. There is more self-hate in this band than you or anyone can realise. We hate ourselves totally."
The band met their late manager, Philip Hall, in 1991, around the time Edwards was photographed in the NME wearing a T-shirt saying 'Kill Yourself'. The Manics had started writing to journalists and other bands, and they moved into the West London house Hall shared with his wife Terri and stayed for almost a year. Philip Hall, a prodigious PR and the brother of current Manics manager Martin, funded the band to the tune of £45,000 before securing their deal with Epic Records on May 11.
Four days later, on May 15, Edwards carved '4REAL' into his arm to prove a point to Steve Lamacq, then an NME journalist. Lamacq, who doubted the Manics' punk credentials, had been dispatched to review them at Norwich Arts Centre. He met Edwards afterwards and they spoke for 30 minutes. Lamacq recalls: "Richey said, 'You got a minute? Come backstage there's one last thing I'd like to say'. So I went backstage and I said: 'I don't think people will think you are for real.' And he got a razor blade and wrote '4REAL' on his arm while I'm just standing there watching him. We carried on talking for another three or four minutes and by that time he was dripping blood all over the carpet."
The wound required 15 stitches, but afterwards Edwards said: "I feel just like the rest of the country. Banging my head against the fucking wall."
At the NME, there were angry exchanges over whether the pictures of Richey's arm should be used.
(A recording of the argument appears on the B-side of the Manics' version of 'Theme From M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)'. Opinions ranged from "disgusting", "sick" and "it's just shock horror" to some staff endorsing Edwards' self-mutilation. Former NME writer James Brown, now editor of Loaded, said: "We've got to print that. It's rock'n'roll, innit? I think more bands should do that sort of thing. It's artistic expression." Andrew Collins, now editor of Q said he thought Edwards was "an idiot".
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But the '4 REAL' incident brought Edwards' extreme personality into view. It attracted a whole legion of new fans who identified with the band's desolate world view and with Edwards' alienation, boredom and despair. He became spokesman for a 'lost generation'.
Edwards read voraciously and began to memorise famous suicide notes. In February 1992 he spoke about a note left by the late comedian Tony Hancock which read: "Things just went wrong too many times" ("I think that's one of the most beautiful things that I've ever read," said Edwards). He also noted Van Gogh's last words, "La tristesse durera." ("This sadness will go on"), and used them as the basis for a Manics' single of the same name.
As the Manics grew in stature, Edwards' self-mutilation increased. During the band's only American tour in May 1992, NME's Stuart Bailie observed his injuries: "You start looking at his right arm; burns, scrapes, slices, lesions - a lurid pink testimony to a sustained programme of self-mutilation." Richey: "They're just my war wounds. I've always found it hard to express how I feel, even from when I was a little child. It's a very British emotion - they keep things bottled up inside them. Some more than others."
Gradually, Edwards' drinking escalated and by 1993 his daily intake had grown to at least half a bottle of vodka and 40 cigarettes.
"I don't think it's a big thing," he said. "I just want... I want to get... I just want to forget about things when it starts getting dark. It's pretty impossible to sleep unless you've taken something; otherwise you just lie in your bed and think about everything, and it just goes on and on and on."
On December 7, 1993, Manics manager Philip Hall died after a long fight against cancer. The loss devastated the band, and had a depressing long-term effect. In August 1994, Wire recalled: "Things have been building up probably since, without being crass about it, Philip died. It was a lot deeper than we thought ourselves. We blocked it off and went straight on tour."
Also, Richey's best friend at university had hung himself. Edwards had shared a flat with the unnamed friend at university and the pair had kept in touch. They'd drifted apart because Edwards was away so often, but they remained firm friends. Wire said: "That threw Richey, seemed to affect him an awful lot, 'cos he never made many friends, and that was one of them."
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The following year, Edwards' depression became more sustained. In May 1994 he slashed himself with a set of knives in Thailand, though he played down the incident, saying: "When I cut myself I feel so much better. All the little things that might have been annoying me suddenly seem so trivial because I'm concentrating on the pain. I'm not a person who can scream and shout, so this is my only outlet. It's all done very logically."
He added: "I agree I do have a very childlike rage and a very childlike loneliness."
Gradually, though, his rage became uncontrollable. Edwards' 17-year-old dog Snoopy died, which caused more trauma, and during the summer his self-abuse increased dramatically. He was a borderline alcoholic, verged on anorexia and, in July, Edwards went on a two-day cutting binge at his home in Cardiff. When his family found him they were horrified. Edwards was taken to Whitchurch Hospital, in Cardiff, put in a ward with 12 other men and given huge doses of the anti-depressant librium. He asked Bradfield, James and Moore if he could quit performing live and devote his time purely to writing lyrics and artwork, though he later retracted the offer. After eight days in Whitchurch, his band, management and family insisted he be moved to the £300-a-day Priory Hospital, in Roehampton, South London. "For the first time I was a bit scared," Edwards said, "because I always thought I could handle it. I've read lots of books about tolerance of pain and pain thresholds. The euphoric agony, basically, is a sensation which your mind blocks off. You control yourself. It's all about control. About proving a point to yourself, which I did very easily, but then I realised I couldn't do anything. So I went to hospital".
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The Priory is a 92-bed hospital which cares for people with psychiatric, psychological and emotional illnesses. Spokeswoman Jean Kilshaw said: "There is a specialist centre, Galsworthy Lodge, for the abstinence-based treatment of alcohol-related problems. There is also a unit for the treatment of eating disorders which offers a range of programmes."
Roehampton put Edwards on a 12-step programme to combat his depression. But he came unstuck on the third step, which asked him to reconcile himself to a God figure. While other people at the hospital thought of religious icons or family members, the closest thing to a God for Edwards was nature. Soon after leaving hospital he said: "But then nature is very cruel."
At Roehampton, Edwards also joined Alcoholics Anonymous. At the time, Nicky Wire said: "It was obvious that he had to go to hospital. There was no other option. He realised it, we realised it, his parents realised it. He's just really ill in a lot of ways at the moment. I think he felt deep down it would have come to this whether he'd been a teacher or a bank clerk or anything, but I personally think being in a band accelerated it." Wire also believed Edwards had reached mental overload. "Richey is like a brain," he said, "a pulsating brain which, wherever he is, whatever he's doing, just takes everything in. And I think he's taken too much in."
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The Manics' third album, 'The Holy Bible' was released in August 1994. It was Edwards' album, and though no-one could fully grasp the level of his depression, songs like '4st 7lbs', 'Die In The Summertime' and 'Yes' gave some insight.
'4st 7lb' was the garish account of anorexia, with lyrics such as: "I don't mind the horror that surrounds me/Self-worth scatters, self-esteem's a bore/I long since moved to a higher plateau/This discipline's so rare/... such beautiful dignity in self-abuse."
'Yes' is the Manics' prostitution song, which Bradfield found immensely difficult to sing and which ends with the line: "These sunless afternoons I can't find myself". 'Yes' was an acknowledgement that they had bared every part of their souls in five tortured years. "Our protective shield had just been blown away," said Wire. "It's like what every Red Indian believes, that your soul is taken away when you're photographed constantly. It does get to a point where it feels like that."
And then there was 'Die In The Summertime', a graphic account of Edwards' depression which suggests the only time he was happy was in his youth ("I have crawled so far sideways/I recognise dim traces of creation/I wanna die, die in the summertime"). "That was basically an old man looking back over his life, over his favourite period of youth," said Edwards. " His childhood, basically. Everybody's got a perfect mental time of their life, and that's what that song is about."
Despite the dark nature of the songs, once the album was released, there was renewed optimism in the Manics' camp. On December 19, 20 and 21 they played three furious concerts at London's Astoria, and on Christmas Day, Edwards ate a bar of chocolate, which family and friends hailed as a victory against his eating disorder. He was practising his guitar and he had stopped drinking.
Edwards said: "I'm scared to go to sleep because of the things I get in my head. That's the reason I ever started drinking - to knock me out. I've tried sleeping tablets, but I don't really like them. I like the effect of drinking. I can get a blank sleep - be out for five or six hours and wake up and then do my job."
There were, however, danger signs in Richey's apparent recovery. When depressives make a return to health, paradoxically, they become more anxious because their new-found physical and mental strength can refuel their depression. On the surface, it may appear that a person is gaining in health, but underneath their demons can often he growing stronger.
In January, the Manics rehearsed new material and were optimistic about their impending American tour and the new songs that would appear on their fourth album. And then Richey disappeared.
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There have been many leads and theories since February 1. The most important discovery came on February 16 when Edwards' L-registration car was found at Auste Service Station, near the Severn Bridge on the England/Wales border. The car was parked there on Valentine's Day, reported by a security guard on February 15, then traced by the police national computer. Service station manager Tom Cassidy said: "The car was locked and there were no clues. There was nothing suspicious about it, no suitcase or note." Graham Edwards made his way to Auste and drove the car back to the family home in St Tudors View, Blackwood, Gwent.
Detective Inspector Frank Stockholm of Cardiff Police said: " We must always look on the positive side. The service station is a place where he could link up with another motorway and hitch a lift."
Four days later, on February 20, police received the first of several alleged sightings. The call came from a Guildford woman who claims she saw a white man, about 5ft 10ins tall, hitching Eastbound from Delamere services. The woman, a Miss G Williams, said the man looked quite old, perhaps 40, and had a guitar case. Avon Police interviewed her, but officer PC Garden sent a fax to Harrow Road which concluded: "It would appear not to be your man."
A more probable sighting was reported on February 21 by David Cross, of Rhigos, Aberdare, in Mid-Glamorgan. Cross is a Manics fan and claims that he saw Edwards outside Newport bus station on February 5. In a statement to police, he said: "I got off the bus alone and I usually buy the Sunday papers from a newsagent's shop which is a very short distance from the bus station. As I approached the newsagent's I saw Richey James Edwards. He was stood alone near to a silver grey coloured car. I approached him as I was going to the shop."
Cross is a friend of Lori Fiddler, an ardent Manic Street Preachers fan who lives in New York and runs the band's American fan club. Cross continued: "Although I do not know him, I said to him: 'Hello, Richey, I'm a friend of Lori's.' And he said, 'How is she? How is she doing?' I said: 'She's fine.' He looked at me and said: 'I'll see you later.' He was wearing a dark, blue-coloured jacket. I am positive it was Richey Edwards."
Fiddler features in two more possible links. The first came in a telephone call to police on March 4 from Philip Keen, of Irvine, Scotland. He claimed Edwards was staying at Fiddler's apartment in East 21st Street. A copy of the theory was faxed to the offices of the NME.
The next came direct from Fiddler, who said Edwards telephoned her on February 2. She told The Sunday Times: "I was out at the time and my girlfriend took the call, the day after he went missing. There was that beep-beep on the line showing it was from overseas. The man on the other end just said, 'Hi Lori,' and then hung up. I think it was him." However, Fiddler has since admitted she may have been wrong.
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Others overseas leads have followed. German Manics fan Monika Pommer claims she received a postcard from Edwards postmarked London February 3, 1995. As 'proof', she sent police a copy of a postcard which Edwards sent her from Cardiff on December 13, 1994. The card, a portrait of Egon Schiele's 'Sunflowers' from 1913, read: "Thanks for all the presents, the coffee especially, take care of yourself, be happy, love Richey."
However, Pommer refused to show anyone the February card, insisting it was too personal. In a letter to Harrow Road Police, she said: "I cannot and do not wish to surrender his last postcard. I do not think he would like me to do so, it is much too personal. I am always carrying it with me now that I think it was meant as some sort of goodbye. Personally, I do not know if he is alive, but I would like to know the truth. If Richey does not return until August 20, 1995, or no other messages or news are confirmed, I will go to Cardiff to say goodbye by throwing flowers into the sea. I do not care what others think about it, I will never forget him. I will always love him. Sincerely yours, Monika Pommer."
Her partner, Gregor Pommer, wrote a letter listing 12 reasons why it was probable that Edwards had committed suicide.
At least two people have made hoax calls. The first came when Sun reporter Thomas Whitaker received a telephone call from a man claiming to be Edwards. The man spoke in a Welsh accent and said he was alive and well and had phoned his parents to let them know he was safe. The call was a bluff.
The second happened on February 22, when Cardiff Police were told that Edwards was staying at Henlow Grange health farm in Bedfordshire. Biddulpshire detective DC Billy Greenwell contacted the farm, which said a quiet, withdrawn musician was staying there. However, further checks revealed him to be a Londoner.
Police have also received several elaborate theories. Sinead O'Connor claimed that Edwards may have visited the Hereford home of a schizophrenic fan. Edwards and O'Connor had previously spoken by telephone and O'Connor had told him about the fan, who spends most of his time writing to her. She read about Edwards' disappearance in NME, then contacted police with her theory that Edwards had sought refuge in Hereford. However, a police check turned up yet another blank.
In Newport, taxi driver Anthony Hatherhall claimed he picked up a man who looked like Edwards on February 7 at 7am from the King's Hotel in the High Street. Hatherhall reported the incident on February 23, two days after reading about Richey's disappearance in the South Wales Argos. He says he picked up his fare, drove him around Blackwood, the Gwent valleys then up to Auste services. He told police: "He requested that we go via the scenic route and not along the motorway because he said he was always driving along the motorway. The fare was £68."
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But the most elaborate claim came from Oxford University undergraduate Anna Bowles, of St. John's College, who wrote to police on February 27 theorising that Edwards had gone to Germany to mark the 50th anniversary of the Holocaust, which he studied at Cardiff University. Bowles also sent copies of the three-page theory to the NME.
She said: "Should Mr Edwards' body be found, or should he even continue to be missing, there is the risk of a spate of suicides similar to that which followed the death of the American musician Kurt Cobain. I am interested in protecting those among my friends who are vulnerable and hope that this theory would help to do so, for, providing nobody is found, it permits the extension of rational hope until mid-May. I believe Edwards has gone to Germany on a visitor's passport to visit locations which are significant to the Allied Forces' liberation of the concentration camps."
Bowles' theory was studied by Acting Superintendent Tony Lewis, at Cardiff Police Station, in King Edward VII Avenue, Cathay's Park. He wrote back saying: "I have read your theory with interest. Inquiries concerning Richard Edwards' disappearance are being co-ordinated by the crime desk at Harrow Road Police Station at 325 Harrow Road, London, W9. I have forwarded your letter."
In July, 16-year-old Lucy Winters, of Gargrave, near Skipton, North Yorkshire, said she saw Edwards walking the streets, looking haggard and unhealthy, carrying a yellow and green rucksack type bag which was "tacky".
But, despite all these leads, Edwards parents have learned to ignore all the claims. "I don't believe in any of these sightings," says Mrs Edwards. "We are just carrying on with our lives and praying that one day the phone will ring and it will be him. I know he was not happy, but the circumstances surrounding his disappearance were nothing as bad as the tabloids have been trying to make out. We are just waiting to see if there is any sign of him, and so far it has been a long, long wait."
The one time police thought they had a definite lead was on July 21, when the body of a tattooed man was found washed up off Beachy Head. Eastbourne coroner's officer Michael Davey telexed Harrow Road at 12.45pm and said: "This may be Richard Edwards, missing from here since '95, ref: 584-21-DR-95. There has been very great press interest in this as is (was?!) a member of 'Manic Street Preachers' popular music group, known very well by you, I've no doubt. Please be aware before making public." The body was identified, but it turned out not to be Edwards.
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Nicky Wire, James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore were shattered when Richey disappeared. None of them foresaw their friend going missing and they were confused, angry, resigned and deeply worried. Nicky and Sean stayed away from London throughout the spring, electing to remain at their homes in Wales and Bristol respectively. James, however, spent most of his time in London, making occasional visits to Wales. In May, the trio had a meeting with Martin Hall and Edwards' parents. They discussed playing together again, and Edwards' parents raised no objection.
They started rehearsing again at Soundspace Studios, in Cardiff, on May 8, while Bradfield also produced Northern Uproar's debut single, 'Rollercoaster'. PR Gillian Porter said: "The sessions at Soundspace were very strange. But if they hadn't felt comfortable together, they wouldn't have carried on. There was no pressure from the record company."
The Manics recorded their first track on September 4 at Chateau De La Rouge Motte studio in France. The song, a cover of Burt Bacharach's 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head', was included on the 'Help!' LP. The lyrics: "I'm free, nothing's worrying me," had new resonance in view of the Edwards predicament. The following week, they recorded four new songs, which will be considered for their fourth album. The songs include lyrics that Edwards gave to the band in January. Recording continued on October 16, when they went to a studio in Bath, and continued the following week at London's Abbey Road Studios with producer Mike Hedges. A new single is scheduled for February, an album is due next summer and the Manics play their first gig since Edwards' disappearance at Wembley Arena on December 29, supporting The Stone Roses.
The disappearance of Edwards caused a widescale outpouring of grief among his fans. Scores inundated the music press with stories of personal gloom, and Melody Maker organised an open forum to discuss depression with press officers, journalists, Manics fans and members of bands. Edwards' disappearance was linked in many people's minds to the suicide of Kurt Cobain, as if those two '90s icons underscored the disenchantment of their peer group. The Samaritans were so concerned they launched a nationwide campaign using the lyrics to REM's 'Everybody Hurts'.
There was at least one Richey copycat incident, when 16-year-old Sally Allen ran away from her home in Skipton, South Yorkshire. Her mother, Lynn Cooke, says, "She was missing for three weeks. She says she lost it. She went down to Bristol and Cardiff on some sort of pilgrimage and then she went to London. She came back when she saw all the Mothers' Day adverts in the shop windows. I think it just dawned on her what she was doing."
In recent weeks, Hall and Rob Stringer, managing director of Epic Records, have been deluged with calls from newspapers wanting information on the Manics. All requests have been refused. The Manics have kept in touch with the mystery 'Jo'. They say she is worried and afraid, but tries to remain hopeful that Richey will appear.
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Back in London, DS Morey sits in his interview room and considers the Richey Edwards case. Police have received far in excess of the information they normally get in missing persons' cases. He says most people would find it easy to disappear if they wanted to, though Edwards would struggle because of his fame. Fleeing overseas would also prove difficult because of the ensuing publicity. "It is, of course, possible to go," says DS Morey. "You can hop on a yacht and be over there without a passport, landing in a small port. It takes a wee bit of planning and a little bit of negotiation with the yacht skipper, but I would have thought it can be done. I'd have thought that if something like that happened, with the publicity that has happened, we would have been notified."
Edwards' file will remain open until police find his remains or receive a positive sighting. But DS Morey doesn't hold out much hope. He believes Edwards would have been unable to disappear, because of his fame and the publicity surrounding his case. "Personally," he says. "and this is my own personal view and not the view of the Metropolitan Police Service, I believe that Richard Edwards may no longer be with us."
[Originally published: Vox, January 1996]