Covid denier conspiracy theorist dies with virus after refusing to follow COVID-19 rules
Gary Matthews, 46, had been ill for around a week before testing positive for coronavirus on January 12.
He died alone in his flat in Shrewsbury, Shropshire the next evening, according to the Guardian.
Matthews didn’t believe the virus was real and shared his belief on online forums.
Mr Matthews is understood to have told a local conspiracy theorist that he had asthma but his family were
not aware of his condition.
They suggested he might’ve carried an inhaler with him to avoid having to wear a mask.
His family said the keen painter didn’t adhere to social distancing guidelines and continued to meet with
friends throughout the pandemic.
Gary’s cousin Tristan Copeland told The Guardian: “He and his friends had the mindset that they needed to go
out and meet people to show they didn’t believe the government.”
He claims Mr Matthews had a distrust of the media and was “led astray” by coronavirus conspiracy groups online.
Tristan said: “About two or three years ago he became very concerned about the conflict in Syria from a
humanitarian point of view.
“I think he read a few stories which led him to distrust the media. Eventually that led him to some climate
change denial groups which he started posting on.”
As Gary’s posts became more frequent, Tristan said he felt like he had to switch off – something which he now
But, he still wants to remember Gary for his kindness and creativity.
Tristan said: “He was still a beloved member of the family and he didn’t change as a person.
“He always loved his painting. He painted portraits. A lot of his work was around celebrity culture.
“It has been heartbreaking for the family. We’re still taking it all in. They were all very close. He’d speak to
his family every other day. He had a sister and a niece and nephew.”
It comes as cabinet minister Michael Gove today told Tory grandee Sir Desmond Swayne to apologise
after he was accused of spreading “dangerous misinformation” about coronavirus.
In an interview with an anti-lockdown group in November, Mr Swayne reportedly said: “It (Covid-19) seems
like a manageable risk, particularly as figures have been manipulated.”
Mr Gove said Sir Desmond was “out of order” and urged the MP to issue a “full and complete retraction
Another 1,725 Brits were killed by the bug on Wednesday – the second deadliest day of the pandemic.
The total number of fatalities now stands at 101,887