South East Wales

Richey Edwards: Missing Manic's sister on family's struggle

Rachel Elias Image copyright PA
Image caption Rachel Elias says not knowing what happened to her brother has been difficult for the family

The sister of Missing Manic Street Preacher Richey Edwards said it was difficult for her father to die without knowing the fate of his son.

Sunday marks 20 years since Edwards, from Blackwood, vanished.

His car was found abandoned near the old Severn Bridge, but no trace of him has ever been found.

Rachel Elias said when their father Graham was dying from cancer in 2013, he had to "face up" to the realisation that he may never know the truth.

Edwards was declared legally dead in 2008, but Mrs Elias said the family cannot come to terms with what happened.

"It was difficult because he [Graham] had to face up to that realisation - that we all may have to - we may not find out what happened to Richard. It was obviously difficult for my father.

Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Mrs Elias says Edwards' disappearance was "out of character"

"Going through his bereavement, I recognised the difference between that and someone who is missing.

"When someone dies you have that acute loss. It sounds like a cliche, that bereavement is a process - but it really is.

"But when someone goes missing you are left with this ongoing uncertainty. Not knowing makes it worse."

In 1994, Manic Street Preachers released their third album The Holy Bible, with many of the lyrics written by Edwards.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Richey Edwards' sister has campaigned for more rights for the families of missing people

Leading up to the LP's release, Edwards was admitted to Whitchurch Psychiatric Hospital in Cardiff before being checked into the Priory Clinic after self harming and suffering with alcoholism.

On 31 January, 1995, Edwards and band mate James Dean Bradfield checked into London's Embassy Hotel ahead of a flight to America.

The following morning, when Bradfield went to wake his friend, there was no answer.

When hotel staff opened his room, they found it empty except for a handful of personal items.

Two weeks later, when his silver Vauxhall Cavalier was found at the now defunct Aust Service Station, it gave his family cause for hope as a steering lock had been fitted to the steering wheel.

Mrs Elias said: "Why would you worry about someone stealing your car if you were chaotically thinking of ending your life?"

The mental health worker said she would like people to remember her brother as a brilliant writer rather than a tragic figure.

"We've always been tremendously proud of Richard," she added.

"He always excelled at whatever he did at whether that was at school, college and university or with the band."

Timeline

21 December, 1994: Edwards plays his last live show with the band at the London Astoria

31 January, 1995: Edwards and Bradfield check into the London Embassy Hotel ahead of their flight to the USA for a promotional tour

1 February: Edwards checks out of his hotel at 7am. He gets in his Vauxhall Cavalier and drives back to Wales

2 February: The band's manager Martin Hall files a missing person report on Edwards with the Metropolitan Police

17 February: Edwards' abandoned car is found at the service station

29 December: The Manics play their first show following Edwards' disappearance

January 2002: Edwards' parents decline to have their son legally declared dead

14, July, 2003: Lyrics written by Edwards for song Judge Y'rself appears on a Manic Street Preachers rarities album Lipstick Traces

23 November, 2008: Edwards' status is legally changed to "presumed dead". As a result, his missing person file is closed and his parents are granted control of his estate

18 May, 2009: Manic Street Preachers release Journal For Plague Lovers - an album of material with all lyrics written by Edwards

8 December, 2014: Manic Street Preachers issue 20th anniversary re-release of The Holy Bible

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