THE wife of a missing man last thought to have been seen in Hailsham has made a heartfelt plea for her husband to return to the family - 10 weeks after he twice tried to take his own life and then vanished while suffering from depression.
Fresh hopes surfaced that Steven Ridgley, 46, would be reunited with his family after a possible sighting of the missing dad by a motorist near the A22 Boship Roundabout, Hailsham, at 5.15am on February 12.
But despite extensive police enquiries and efforts by his wife Sue to trace her husband - father of Ben, 15, Max, 13 and Emily, 12 - he is still missing.
Mr Ridgley, who ran a second-hand shop called SJ Cash and Exchange in Hastings, was last seen more than two months ago at his detached house at the junction of Knebworth Road and Broad Oak Lane, Bexhill, at around 10.30am on January 18.
Mrs Ridgley said, “This is so out-of-character for Steve. He was very much the family man, devoted to our children and always around.
“He played golf occasionally but other than that had no hobbies and just enjoyed being with us.
“We all miss him terribly and just want to know he’s alright.
“We’re not angry with him. We simply want him to get in touch and let us know he’s safe.”
Mrs Ridgley said her husband had been badly affected by the sudden death of a close friend who’d worked opposite him in St Andrew’s Market, Hastings, during his 17 years there.
Detective Inspector Ian Williams, of Bexhill CID, said, “The fact that Mr Ridgley twice tried to take his own life immediately before his disappearance explains why we are so concerned for his welfare.
“We want to trace him so that he can be given medical help.
“It may be that someone is sheltering him and respecting his privacy, unaware of the full circumstances.
“We would urge anyone with any information at all that may help put us in touch with him to come forward without delay.”
Mr Ridgley is described as white, blue-eyed and 5ft 11ins tall.
He was last seen wearing grey tracksuit bottoms, a black lightweight waterproof jacket and white trainers.
Anyone who may have knowledge of Mr Ridgley’s whereabouts, or even Mr Ridgley himself, is asked to contact Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999, quoting serial 642 of 18/1.