Max Spiers inquest: Conspiracy theorist told mother just before death 'investigate if anything happens to me'

'I really think, standing back from it now, that he was just getting himself in more and more of a state', Vanessa Bates tells court

Tuesday 08 January 2019 17:00 GMT
Extract from Max Spiers' apparently final recorded interview

A conspiracy theorist who feared he could be murdered told his mother to investigate “if anything happens to me” just days before his death, an inquest has heard.

Maxwell Bates-Spiers, 39, known widely as Max Spiers, died in Poland after appearing at a conference to speak about “secret military programmes”, the court was told.

His mother had previously said he was “incredibly strong, incredibly fit, nothing wrong with him at all” before leaving for the trip in July 2016.

Speaking on the second day of the three-day hearing on Tuesday, Vanessa Bates said her son had sent her a message before he died which read: “If anything happens to me, look into it, investigate.”

She added: “He even said, ‘I think I might be murdered’. That would have been in the last week or so before he died.

“I really think, standing back from it now, that he was just getting himself in more and more of a state.”

Paying tribute to her son, who was described to the court in Sandwich, Kent, as a journalist “dealing with the topics of conspiracy theories and paranormal phenomena”, Mrs Bates added: “He was very funny, so funny and so full of life, and humorous.

“He was not one of those hell-bent on conspiracy and pointing out that the government was going to fall – stereotypically, that’s how conspiracy theorists are presented.”

Mr Bates-Spiers, of Canterbury, was in Warsaw to attend the Earth Project conference where he gave a lecture about participation in “secret military programmes”, the inquest heard. The court was told he died at the home of Monika Duval, 50, after taking prescription drugs while suffering from pneumonia.

He had met Ms Duval, a publisher, at the conference and she let him live with her for several weeks before his death on 16 July, 2016. The pair also went on holiday to Cyprus together and the court heard they had had an “informal relationship”.

In the statement read to the hearing, Ms Duval addressed the circumstances around Mr Spiers’ death. She said he took “about 10” tablets of a Turkish form of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax before he fell asleep on her sofa and stopped breathing.

A toxicology report also discovered “potentially fatal” levels of oxycodone, an opioid, in his system, the inquest heard.

Ms Duval said in her statement “gastric fluids” had poured from Mr Bates-Spiers’ mouth as she tried resuscitation.

Two police officers, Slawomir Mamczak and Pawel Semeniuk, were called by the paramedics after Ms Duval grew agitated when they stopped CPR.

In a statement, Mr Mamczak said a doctor had told them the death was “due to natural causes”.

He added: “The doctor said a woman who was present in the house didn’t agree with their decision to stop resuscitation.”

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Mr Semeniuk said in a statement: “After the doctor said the death was due to natural causes, we somehow didn’t delve into it. There was no examination or further investigation.”

British toxicologist David Rose previously told the court Mr Spiers had twice the normal dose of Xanax in his system. He also discovered levels of oxycodone which could be fatal to an inexperienced user, the inquest heard.

Mr Spiers’ GP, Dr Cecily Fahey, said he had been addicted to a “variety of medications”.

Assistant coroner Chris Sutton-Mattocks is expected to give his conclusion on Wednesday.

Additional reporting by PA

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