Matthew Mason, a murderer who “ruthlessly” bludgeoned a 15-year-old boy to death after paying him thousands to keep quiet about their relationship, has been sentenced to life, with a minimum of 28 years in prison.
Mason, now 20, was 18 when he bludgeoned Alex Rodda with a spanner in the woods in Cheshire on 12 December, 2019, before leaving him to die.
He admitted the attack but went to trial in an effort to minimise his sentence, but has now been handed a life sentence with a minimum of 28 years.
According to the Manchester Evening News, judge Steven Everett told Mason at his sentencing: “You clearly encouraged your young victim to involve himself in what was clearly his first real sexual experience. In other words, you groomed him.”
Everett said the murder was “deliberate”, “carefully planned” and “ruthless”.
During his trial, jurors at Chester Crown Court heard that Mason began messaging Rodda, who was openly gay and attended Holmes Chapel High School, in October 2019 and sent him explicit photos and messages.
They soon developed an “intimate sexual relationship”.
Mason had a girlfriend at the time, but on 3 November, Rodda contacted her and told her about their relationship. He also threatened to post the the messages and photos online unless Mason, who came from a millionaire family, paid him £50.
Over the next three weeks, Mason paid Rodda £2,020. On the day the schoolboy died, Mason lured him to the woods “on the pretence of sexual activity” before launching a “brutal and merciless” attack, striking him at least 15 times with a spanner.
Prosecutor Ian Unsworth told the court: “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.
“His trousers and underwear gathered around his ankles, suggesting that he may have been engaged in some form of sexual activity prior to the attack and thus, may well have been highly vulnerable at that time.”
A judge gave Matthew Mason a life sentence for the “carefully planned and ruthlessly carried out” murders of Alex Rodda.
The judge told Matthew Mason at sentencing: “You were only thinking about yourself and you cared not a jot for anybody else.
“He didn’t realise the consequences of what he was doing, you clearly understood this. In reality not only were you much older, not just in years, but more emotionally mature than him… You deliberately took that heavy wrench and you chose that spot. It was a devastating weapon.
“This was carefully planned and ruthlessly carried out, showing no empathy and a callous disregard for Alex, his family and friends.
“You are a selfish individual and thought about nobody but yourself.
“There is only one sentence I can pass, that of life imprisonment. I must decide on the minimum term. I sentence you to custody for life with a minimum term of 28 years.”
Speaking to Rodda’s family, the judge added: “Nothing I can say will ever compensate you. It will give you limited closure. You have my sincerest condolences.”