Willie Spears was the perpetually sour and drunken night watchman at Radcliffe Colliery. He witnessed Michael Radcliffe's murder at the hands of Richard Cobb, and Cobb paid him to lie and say he'd seen Geoffrey Radcliffe do the deed. His testimony landed Geoffery in prison on death, which in turn put Cobb in charge of the colliery. In return for lying Cobb promoted Spears to superintendant, a job he immediately began to abuse, ignoring all the safety rules the Radcliffe brothers had laid down and getting several workers injured in the unsafe mines. This earned him the scorn of all the miners.
Eventually, after taking Frank Griffin's invisibility formula, Geoffery Radcliffe came back for revenge against Spears. He ambushed Spears while he was out on a drive, and after getting him to confess that Cobb was the real murderer, followed him back to his house on the colliery grounds, and forced him to stand on a stool with a noose around his neck - if he fell, he would hang. He eventually did hang when Cobb, upon finding out about Spears had told on him and being forced at gunpoint to come to Spears' house by Geoffery, kicked the stool out from under Spears, ending his life.