Teenager jailed for murdering a schoolboy he was having a relationship with
Update: Matthew Mason has today been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 28 years for the murder.
A teenager has been found guilty of murdering a 15-year-old boy he had been having a sexual relationship with.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that Matthew Mason, 19, beat Alex Rodda to death with a heavy wrench in a remote wooded area near Ashley, near Bowden in Cheshire on the evening of 12 December 2019.
The victim had left his mother’s house in Pickmere near Knutsford around 5.20pm that day. He told her he was meeting friends. She never saw him alive again.
In fact he had gone to meet Mason. The two teenagers had become close over some months and were in an intimate sexual relationship.
Alex was openly gay and had a wide circle of friends. Matthew Mason lived with his family at Ash Farm in Ash Lane in Knutsford. He had a girlfriend and worked as an apprentice mechanic.
On 3 November Alex messaged Mason’s girlfriend of two years, telling her that Mason had sent him intimate pictures of himself. As a result of this, Mason and his girlfriend argued and eventually split up.
The day after this message was sent, Mason began making payments into Alex Rodda’s bank account. Over the next couple of weeks he paid him over £2,000.
Facebook messages showed that the two discussed the payments. They continued to meet each other.
Several witnesses later told police officers that Mason was paying Alex not to reveal details of their sexual relationship.
Alex’s mother had met the defendant at her home on one occasion and took an instant dislike to him. She warned Alex to stay away from him.
In early December, Mason began to make sinister searches on the Internet for stories about missing people and unsolved deaths.
Shortly after 4pm on 12 December, Mason contacted Alex and the two arranged to meet. Mason picked him up near his mother’s home in his Black Renault Clio car.
This car was later spotted near the murder scene by a witness, who took a photograph of it as he suspected it was being used by drug dealers.
Shortly after this, Mason subjected Alex Rodda to a brutal, repeated attack with a heavy wrench and then left him for dead in the woods. His body was found the following morning by refuse collectors.
Mason tried to provide himself with an alibi by meeting friends in two pubs later that evening.
However, as Alex’s mother tried to find out where her son was, she and his friends contacted Mason. Mason actually offered to help his mother find him.
He was eventually arrested the following day. Today (7 January 2021), at Chester Crown Court, a jury convicted him of murder by a majority of 10 to 2. He will be sentenced on 25 January.
Senior Crown Prosecutor Angela Rowan of CPS Mersey Cheshire said: “Matthew Mason’s attack on Alex Rodda was brutal and merciless. He landed at least 15 blows on him with a heavy wrench in a violent repetitive assault.
“Alex did not stand a chance. His life ended in those woods. His partially clothed abandoned body was discovered by a team of refuse collectors the next morning.
“The Crown Prosecution Service said that Matthew Mason took Alexander Rodda to the woods on the pretence of sexual activity and then murdered him in cold blood. The jury have agreed with us.
“The Crown Prosecution Service would like to thanks Alex’s family and friends for their help in bringing this prosecution and our thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.”