Coronavirus denier dies alone in his flat after testing positive for disease

A coronavirus denier who refused to wear a face mask and believed in bizarre conspiracy theories about the pandemic died a day after testing positive for the disease.

Gary Matthew fell ill a week before testing positive on January 12 and was found dead in his flat the next evening, it has been reported.

The 46-year-old, who live in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, was reportedly a Covid conspiracy theorist who had a history of asthma.

His family claim that Gary did not believe the virus, which has killed over 100,000 people in the UK, was real, and did not adhere to government social-distancing guidelines, or wear a mask.

Mr Matthews devastated cousin, Tristan Copeland, told the Guardian his loved ones begged him to try to change his mindset but he would tell them to "go out and meet people to show they didn’t believe the government."

He said that Gary was "quite shy" and had been "led astray" by dangerous conspiracy theory Facebook groups he found online.

Mr Copeland said Gary's fascination with the groups began last year after he began reading about the conflict in Syria from a "humanitarian point of view," which led to a "distrust" in the media.

Gary then began to read into climate change denial, he said, and he began posting information into the groups himself and said there was "no swaying him" when he saw him.

The family would even show him reports to "disprove" his theory but Gary would "come back with a less reputable one that backed up his idea."

He said Gary cousin would tell him she was "brainwashed" but despite his views, remained a "beloved member of the family" and said he "didn't deserve" to die.

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Mr Copeland said: "When I came back to Shrewsbury we would hang out, and I would ask him if he actually believed this stuff. There was no swaying him. I'd show him a report to disprove the theory but he would come back with a less than reputable one that backed up his idea.

"It's just a way of thinking and it is hard to break people out of that. He would tell me I was brainwashed by the media. This thinking is impenetrable when you are arguing with facts.'

"He didn't deserve that. No-one does… He was still a beloved member of the family and he didn't change as a person.

"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."

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