'Cold and calculated' teen who battered lover, 15, to death with spanner over £2k blackmail plot is jailed for life

A “COLD and calculated” teen who battered his 15-year-old lover to death with a spanner over a £2,000 blackmail plot was today jailed for life.

Matthew Mason, 19, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 28 years after brutally killing Alex Rodda.

He murdered schoolboy Alex in remote woodland in Cheshire on December 12 last year over fears he would expose their sexual relationship.

The killer lured his lover on the "pretence of sexual activity" before bludgeoning him in "cold blood".

Alex was later found partially clothed by refuse collectors after he was reported missing.

Judge Everett told Mason: "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."

He added: "You clearly encouraged your young victim to involve himself in what was clearly his first real sexual experience. In other words, you groomed him.

"In the days leading up to his death you send him messages inviting him to have sex in some special or secret place.

"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.

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."

Alex's dad Adam Rodda today gave a powerful victim impact statement and said he has "struggled not to take my own life to be with Alex".

He told the court: "I will miss the cherished times we had. Even at 15 he would sleep in my bed with me.

"I would tease him and say 'aw you've slept in your dad's bed' and he would say 'shut up dad'.

"I will never have that again. I have struggled not to take my own life to be with Alex.


"This is further devastation that I am already suffering and the pain I should never have to feel.

"Whatever sentence he receives, he will still have a life; still be able to see his family during his incarceration and when he gets out he will be able to do all the things Alex would love to have been able to do.

"My opinion is that Matthew Mason did not tell the truth about what happened – he weaved a web of deceit.

"He is a sexual abuser and a child murderer and I never experienced someone so cold."

His dad continued: "If I know the suffering he went through I can also suffer the pain he suffered and I can share the pain, then I would feel he has not suffered alone.

I have struggled not to take my own life to be with Alex."

"I will never know what happened. I feel like I failed to protect my beautiful boy and I will never get over that feeling.

"I will never get the chance to see him experience things in life that we all take for granted; having a loving relationship, getting married, having children, learning to drive and owning a car – something he was particular looking forward to.

"I am personally devastated for my poor boy feeling scared and alone before his death.

"I will not rest until I know what happened to my little boy."

Earlier this month, a jury of seven women and five men found Mason guilty of murder by a majority of 10 to two at Chester Crown Court.

Mason appeared to be crying in the dock following the verdict. Members of Alex's family were also in tears, as were two of the jurors.

Honorary recorder of Chester Judge Steven Everett thanked the jury and said: "No-one can pretend this has been an easy case."

Jurors heard how Mason, who lived with his millionaire parents on a farm near Knutsford, began messaging Alex in October 2019.

The texts soon turned sexual and Mason sent his Year 11 lover an explicit photo and video after getting drunk.


But Alex threatened to post the messages online and messaged Mason's girlfriend of two years on November 3.

He wrote: "I thought I should let you know that the past 2-3 weeks Matt has been trying to message me he came to my house in his car to meet me last week but I told him my dad wouldn’t let me out so I didn’t meet him.

"I have told him it has to stop but just thought I’d let you know before he does a d***head move and I didn’t know he was dating you until I went to go follow him on lnstagram.”

He then asked Mason for £50 to stop him putting the screenshot on social media.

By November 23, Mason had paid £2,020 to Alex as he was "embarrassed about what had happened".


On December 12, Mason tricked Alex into meeting him in the woods in a murderous plot to silence him.

Once there, he beat Alex repeatedly in a "brutal and merciless" attack – reigning at least 15 blows on the schoolboy's head.

Prosecutor Ian Unsworth QC said: "The attack was brutal and merciless.

“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.

“Alex did not stand a chance. His life ended in those woods."

The monster teen left stricken Alex for dead in the woods even though he could see he was still breathing.

The attack was brutal and merciless."

He then made his way to a pal's home to clean himself up and visited friends in two pubs – posting a selfie from one to "lay the ground" for an alibi.

But after Alex's body was discovered cops arrested the teen and found dried blood on his hands and fingers and the blood-stained weapon in his car.

Evil Mason admitted he hit the Holmes Chapel High School pupil at least 15 times but claimed he was acting in self-defence after Alex hit him first.

The sicko also returned to the woods hours later to move Alex's body.

During the trial, Alex's mum revealed how she had warned her son to "stay away" from Mason after she saw them both together at their home.

Lisa Rodda said: "When I looked into that boy's eyes, I have never ever in my life felt fear… my whole body felt fear.

"His eyes were soulless. He was cold and soulless. He already had that motive in his mind."

She added: "I said to Alex 'stay away from that man'. I felt it, what he was going to do to my boy, I felt it."

But Alex threatened to post the messages online and messaged Mason's girlfriend of two years on November 3.

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