Wales

Former Manics star Richey Edwards' sister at inquiry

The sister of Manic Street Preacher Richey Edwards has given evidence to the UK's first parliamentary inquiry into missing people.Rachel Elias will call for a Presumption of Death Act, making it easier to register a person dead.

Her family finally registered the Blackwood musician presumed dead in October 2008, 13 years after he disappeared on February 1, 1995.

The mother of missing Madeleine McCann has also appeared at the inquiry.

Kate McCann called for greater support for the "heartbroken" families of missing people, four years after Madeleine went missing in Portugal in 2007.

Ms Elias, who supports the charity Missing People, is trying to establish a Presumption of Death Act, which would allow people to be presumed dead after seven years of their disappearance.

The inquiry session was considering whether current presumption of death measures are fit for purpose.

There has been a similar law in Scotland since 1977.

Ms Elias said it took her family four years to obtain a court order to declare her brother dead in 2008.

Before her inquiry appearance she told BBC Wales: "It was very difficult.

"There was no advisory organisation out there to help us to know what to expect.

Image caption Rachel Elias wants more rights for the families of missing people

"It was difficult enough for us, and for families who have wider issues to deal with such as dissolving a marriage or dealing with joint assets, it's an even more difficult process."

She said Missing People wanted to "challenge the current system in England and in Wales for presumption of death provisions".

On the current system, she added: "It's an absolute mess at the moment and an act would really help and benefit families."

Ms Elias and the Missing People charity are also calling for long-term missing people to be checked against a national database of unidentified bodies.

Public persona

Many believe Richey Edwards took his own life at the age of 27, and his car was later found near the Severn Bridge.

After his disappearance, Ms Elias said the family "searched, did everything we could, contacted everyone possible really - made an active attempt to find him and there was just no out come and it continued like that up until now".

She added: "At the time, the police weren't particularly helpful and I think that was possibly not their fault.

"He had a public persona. I think they drew an opinion about him that he had the right to go missing, that he was a young man man and that he chose to go.

"I think the police possibly didn't realise that it it was more complicated than that, that he was also a vulnerable adult and maybe they couldn't see beyond his persona."

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