British teenager Matthew Mason has Thursday afternoon (7 January) been found guilty of murdering his 15-year-old gay lover after paying him thousands to stop him disclosing their relationship.
Mason, 19, bludgeoned Alex Rodda with a spanner in a quiet woodland in Cheshire, north-west England, on 12 December last year, leaving him to die.
The victim was reported missing and later found by refuse collectors. Following a trial, Chester Crown Court found Mason guilty of murder, The Sun reported.
He lured the victim on “the pretence of sexual activity” before “brutally and mercilessly” battering Rodda in “cold blood”, the courts heard.
‘Alex Rodda did not stand a chance. His life ended in those woods,’ prosecutors say
Matthew Mason, who lived with his millionaire family on a farm in Knutsford, first began messaging Alex Rodda, who attended Holmes Chapel High School, in October 2019, jurors heard.
Rodda was openly gay, but Mason, an apprentice mechanic, had a girlfriend of two years at the time. While drunk, Mason sent him explicit photographs and videos.
But Rodda messaged Mason’s girlfriend on 3 November telling her about their relationship before blackmailing him, threatening to post the content unless he paid him £50.
He paid the money into the schoolboy’s account the next day, the first of a series of payments that tallied £2,020 by 23 November as he was “embarrassed about what had happened”.
The blackmail soon curdled into a violent plot – with Mason searching on the web in the days leading up to 12 December local unsolved murder cases and untraceable poisons – as he invited Rodda to the woods.
There he struck the boy’s head at least 15 times, prosecutors said.
“The overall pattern of the injuries was indicative of a violent repetitive assault with that wrench estimated to have involved the landing of at least 15 separate heavy blows,” said prosecutor Ian Unsworth QC.
“Alex did not stand a chance. His life ended in those woods.”
Matthew Mason was ‘soulless’, says victim’s mother
The killer left the bloodied scene even as a beaten Rodda was still breathing, his trousers and underwear gathered around the ankles. He later went to a friend’s house to wash and swung by a pair of pubs – uploaded a selfie from one in an attempt to create an alibi.
However, the authorities later arrested Mason after the victim’s body was discovered. Mason’s hands, cops said, were covered in dried blood and the weapon was found in his car.
During the trial, Rodda’s mother, Lisa Rodda, said she had warned her son to “stay away” from Mason.
“When I looked into that boy’s eyes, I have never ever in my life felt fear,” she said, “my whole body felt fear.”
She added: “His eyes were soulless. He was cold and soulless. He already had that motive in his mind.”