Missing signer discovered living in south of England

After his disappearance six months ago, singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty has been discovered living in hiding in the south of England.

Fears had been growing in recent months for the safety and whereabouts of Rafferty after he disappeared from St Thomas’ Hospital last Summer.

Rafferty has battled alcoholism for years and trashed his London hotel room last August, before checking out of St Thomas’ where he was being treated for liver problems.

Friends and family of the singer were alarmed after his disappearance, especially as Rafferty left his clothes and personal belongings at the London hospital.

The proprietor of the London hotel Rafferty had previously been staying at reported to the press that the carpets, bedframe and curtains in Rafferty’s room had to be removed and incinerated. “He has damaged quite a lot of his room, because he has been incontinent for four days,” said Alex Huggan, “there was blood and urine everywhere.”

Last month the website ultimate-guitar.com reported that Rafferty may have been kidnapped. However, the story prompted a response from one of the site’s users. “Don’t worry. He’s fine,” read the post, “I served him in a restaurant just off Piccadilly Circus tonight, then helped him to his hotel. Thought he looked familiar, so I went back and asked the porter his name.”

Earlier this month another reader reportedly spotted Rafferty at a hotel in Bournemouth, it is believed he is currently being looked after by a friend. “I spoke to him two weeks ago and he’s fine,” Rafferty’s spokesperson, Paul Charles, today told The Independent . “There’s no album, there’s no tour, so he’s not coming out in public.”

The Paisley-born singer formed the Humblebums with Billy Connolly and fronted Stealers Wheel before having an international smash with “Baker Street” in 1978.

“I was extremely worried when I heard that he had walked out of hospital in the middle of the night and that he left clothes and belongings behind,” said former Stealers Wheel member Tony Williams, now a councillor in Blackpool. “As a councillor I am the chair of BSafe Blackpool and through police contacts tried to see if there were any reports of him – but there weren’t.”

Rafferty retired from music in 1983 to spend more time with his family, he is reasoned to earn a steady income from the royalties for “Baker Street” and Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck In The Middle With You”. In 2005, he collapsed at his home in Hampstead, London, issuing denials that he had overdosed on prescription drugs.

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