Man who bludgeoned schoolboy lover to death over blackmail plot jailed for life

25 January 2021, 13:41 | Updated: 25 January 2021, 15:23

Matthew Mason has been jailed for the murder of Alex Rodda
Matthew Mason (left) has been jailed for the murder of Alex Rodda. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

A man who bludgeoned a schoolboy to death after paying more than £2,000 to stop him revealing their sexual relationship has been jailed for life and will serve at least 28 years behind bars.

Farmer's son Matthew Mason, 20, previously admitted killing 15-year-old Alex Rodda with a wrench in Cheshire woodland in December 2019.

He denied murder, claiming he experienced a loss of control after being blackmailed by the teenager.

However a jury at Chester Crown Court found him guilty of murder earlier this month.

Mason has been sentenced to a minimum term of 28 years.

Mason bludgeoned Alex to death with a wrench
Mason bludgeoned Alex to death with a wrench. Picture: PA

Sentencing him, Judge Steven Everett said: "This was a pre-meditated murder, carefully planned and, in my judgment, ruthlessly carried out showing no empathy for your victim and a callous disregard for his family and friends."

Alex's body was discovered by refuse collectors in Ashley Mill Lane in Ashley at 8am on December 12, 2019.

He had last been seen at around 6pm the day before.

Mason was arrested in Forton, Shropshire, about four hours after the body was found.

After his death, Alex's family said in a statement: "Alex was a very loving, caring, kind, loyal and, most of all, trusting young boy.

Mason's car was photographed by a witness on a track near where Alex's body was found
Mason's car was photographed by a witness on a track near where Alex's body was found. Picture: PA

"He loved life and made friends wherever he went. He will be sorely missed."

His mother Lisa told the Daily Mirror: "I wish he had not been so trusting.

"He was only 15 and that made him vulnerable. I am heartbroken."

Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School head teacher Denis Oliver said Alex, who was in Year 11, would be "sorely missed by everyone who knew him".

"Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers are with Alex's family and friends at this very sad time."

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