Death of Max Spiers
The death on 16 July 2016 of the conspiracy theorist Max Spiers (or Maxwell Bates-Spiers, born 1976) caused controversy among some conspiracists, which led to reports from BBC News and other news outlets. Spiers believed in a variety of paranormal events, such as that he had been altered as a child to become a supersoldier (a term he disliked). Spiers's credibility as a conspiracy theorist has been doubted by other conspiracists, including Adam Borowski from Radio Paranormalium, a Polish independent journalist who stated Spiers "seemed to collect the research of other people and present it as his own" and that he had never proven any abilities related to his claim of being made a supersoldier at birth.
Spiers died on 16 July 2016 in Warsaw, Poland, while visiting a friend. In a multi-part short documentary series on his death, made by the BBC, his mother stated that she had been concerned about Spiers's mental health prior to his death, and that she believed he had "gotten involved with the wrong crowd." A final video taken of Spiers before his death revealed what his mother interpreted as signs of substance intoxication; she had seen him in a similar state in the past after he had taken heroin. Another conspiracist, who was close to Spiers, suggested that his drug use was controlled by extraterrestrial life. A message from Spiers's phone stating "your boy's in trouble. If anything happens to me, investigate" was sent to his mother before he died. Spiers vomited gastric fluid prior to his death.
Spiers had been interested in conspiracy theories from a young age. He later recalled various events including out-of-body experiences which he used to justify conspiracy theories, including the belief that he had been given supernatural powers at birth. Spiers also suffered severe anxiety, which sometimes left him completely debilitated.
While in the United States he had an accident which resulted in a crack to his pelvis. This led to a prescription of potent opiate pain relief. Spiers later developed an opioid use disorder. Unable to acquire more prescription opiates, Spiers began to take heroin. There are claims that Spiers relapsed while in Poland, and a video taken shortly before his death seems to provide grounds for this, as according to his mother, he behaved as he had done after taking heroin.
On 16 July 2016 Spiers died on the sofa at a friend's house in Warsaw, Poland. According to the Polish prosecutor handling the case, Spiers's friend called an ambulance. A doctor attended the scene but was unable to revive Spiers. He did not take steps to inform police about the incident. Information regarding Spiers' death did not reach the prosecutor's office until 30 August 2016, after his body had been handed over to British authorities. Due to this, Polish authorities could not conduct an autopsy.
On 30 August 2016 an investigation was launched into the circumstances surrounding Spiers' death. The investigation by Polish authorities is looking into the involuntary manslaughter of Spiers. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have commented that British authorities will not conduct investigations into Spiers's death with an aim to prosecute as it is the responsibility of their Polish counterparts. In December 2016 British authorities announced they would launch an inquest into his death, which is distinct from an investigation with an aim to convict. (Conviction is undertaken by the Polish Prosecutors' Office, who may choose whether to accept the inquest's findings.) A coroner told the inquest he was waiting to receive a report from Polish authorities. As a result, the proceedings were adjourned until February 2017.
- ["Maxwell Bates-Spiers inquest: Polish police probe criticised", BBC, 9 January 2018.]
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