Mechanic, 19, 'bludgeoned 15-year-old to death after paying £2,000 to stop him reporting sexual relationship'

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read
Matthew Mason has pleaded not guilty of murdering Alex Rodda, left, at a trial at Chester Crown Court. (Cheshire Constabulary/PA/Google Maps)
Matthew Mason has pleaded not guilty to murdering Alex Rodda, left, at a trial at Chester Crown Court. (Cheshire Constabulary/PA/Google Maps)

A mechanic bludgeoned a 15-year-old to death in a “merciless” attack after paying more than £2,000 to stop him reporting their sexual relationship, a court has been told.

Matthew Mason, 19, is accused of beating Alex Rodda with a wrench in woods in Ashley, Cheshire, on 12 December, 2019. He denies murder.

Rodda, who attended Holmes Chapel High School, suffered 15 heavy blows all over his body, a court heard.

Jurors at Chester Crown Court were told on Monday that Mason took Rodda to the woods near Ashley “on the pretence of sexual activity” before murdering him “in cold blood”.

They had been in an “intimate sexual relationship” since Mason was 18, having known each other for months before Rodda’s death, prosecutor Ian Unsworth QC said.

Alex Rodda was killed in a "merciless" attack, a court has heard. (PA/Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School & Sixth Form College)
Alex Rodda was killed in a 'merciless' attack, a court has heard. (PA/Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School & Sixth Form College)

Rodda contacted Mason’s girlfriend and told her that he was sending messages “in a flirty way” and sent an explicit photo and video.

Mason, an apprentice mechanic from Ollerton, told his girlfriend this was false.

However, he began moving money to Rodda’s bank account, having paid £2,020 by 23 November last year, the court heard.

Rodda, whose family sat in court on Monday, told a friend that Mason paid him for sex and that he would report him to the police if the payments stopped, it was alleged.

Rodda’s friend said this was “akin to blackmail” and told him it was “wrong”, jurors were told.

“The messages that have been recovered show that, over time, the defendant was complaining that the payments were cleaning him out,” Unsworth said.

Tracking data from Mason’s Renault Clio was used by police to follow the car’s movements, alongside phone and social media data, the prosecutor added.

Rodda’s phone was not recovered, which Unsworth said was because Mason “has decided not to tell anyone where it is or where it went to”.

Describing the alleged attack, Unsworth told jurors it was “merciless” and “brutal”, adding: “Alex did not stand a chance. His life ended in those woods.

“His partially clothed abandoned young body was discovered by a team of refuse collectors early the next morning.”

The trial continues.