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Inquest into death of Max Bates-Spiers in Poland will go ahead without witnesses

By Alan Smith

An inquest into the death of a Canterbury conspiracy theorist will not be adjourned despite difficulties procuring witnesses and evidence.

Max Bates-Spiers died suddenly in a house in Poland in 2016, just days before he was due to address a conference.

The 39-year-old father-of-two is said to have vomited black fluid shortly before his death, but the Polish authorities recorded he had died from natural causes.

Max Bates-Spiers died in suspicious circumstances in Poland
Max Bates-Spiers died in suspicious circumstances in Poland

A second post-mortem examination when his body was returned to Kent proved inconclusive.

His mother, Vanessa Bates-Spiers, of Merchant’s Way, Canterbury, suspects her son – who sought to expose government cover-ups – may have been murdered. Shortly before he died Mr Bates-Spiers had sent her a text saying: “Your boy’s in trouble. If anything happens, investigate."

At a pre-inquest review at the Archbishops Place in Maidstone, Hannah Uglow, acting for Mrs Bates-Spiers, attempted to persuade the coroner Chris Sutton Matttocks to allow an adjournment.

She was concerned none of the key witnesses in Poland, the woman who found the body, Monika Duval, the medical staff or police who attended, had consented to give evidence - either in person or by Skype.

She was also troubled that requests by the family last October for translations from the Polish of more of the reports supplied to the coroner's court had not been forthcoming.

Finally, she was concerned that a SIM card from Mr Bates-Spiers' mobile phone had still not been examined for any evidence.

But Mr Sutton-Mattocks suggested Mrs Bates-Spiers was on a "fishing expedition."

He said he was loath to adjourn the inquest set for January 7, because the case was already "elderly" and the family deserved as speedy a resolution as possible. He said that every inquest that was adjourned for more than a year had to be reported to the Chief Coroner with a full explanation.

Vanessa Bates at her son's graveside
Vanessa Bates at her son's graveside

While it was regrettable that none of the Polish witnesses would consent to give evidence, he was satisfied that in the reports and statements he did hold - in particular a police report exceeding 250 pages - he had enough evidence to proceed with the hearing.

He said that while the court had paid for the translation of those documents which appeared to be relevant, the total evidence in Polish exceeded 700 pages and it would be "excessively expensive and time-consuming" to have it all translated.

He invited Miss Uglow to commission her own translations if she wished and also authorised her to obtain the SIM card from the Kent Police evidence store so that she could examine its contents.

He did agree that he would hear evidence from Mr Bates-Spiers' former partner, Sarah Adams, now living in Texas, who had agreed to attend the hearing.

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Bates-Spiers said her biggest frustration was with the Polish witnesses, none of whom were prepared to put themselves out to give evidence. Had they been in England, the court could have compelled them to do so.

But she was also frustrated over her son's SIM card. She said: "It's incredible that it still hasn't been examined. Surely it would reveal all the calls made on the night and might contain important evidence?"

The full inquest is due to take place on January 7.

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