A U.K. man was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison for the premeditated murder of Alex Rodda, the 15-year-old schoolboy who blackmailed him and threatened to expose their relationship to his girlfriend.
Matthew Mason, now 20, was an18-year-old when he met Rodda.
During the trial, reported The Daily Mail, the court heard testimony detailing how Mason lured Alex Rodda to remote woodland near the village of Ashley in Cheshire with the promise of sex before beating him to death with a wrench.
In the weeks leading up to the murder, Mason had paid Rodda more than £2,000 in an effort to stop him from revealing that they were having a sexual relationship.
This was after Rodda had learned that Mason’s father was a wealthy farmer.
The Daily Mail: “In chilling messages revealed during the trial, the 15-year-old allegedly threatened to expose their affair after finding out Mason had been dating a girl for two years, the court heard. In the week before the murder, Mason made internet searches for phrases including ‘what would happen if you kicked someone down the stairs’, ‘everyday poison’ and ‘The mysteries of Cheshire unsolved deaths of missing people.'”
Mason confessed to beating Rodda with the wrench but denied murder, arguing he acted in self-defense and that he had lost control after being provoked. Mason told the court he did not believe his friends would accept him if he was gay or bisexual.
Mason, also admitted to having sex with Rodda but said he thought it was “wrong.” The agricultural engineering student said he was “straight” but began questioning his sexuality following messages from Rodda.
After the end of the trial, messages sent between Rodda and Mason — from their first contact on Facebook and Snapchat to text arguments over money — were made public.
Rodda told Mason he was “fit” before they started swapping pictures on Snapchat, leading to Mason sending Rodda a dick pic and also sending a video of himself jerking off, the Mirror reported Mason as claiming. Just days later, Rodda messaged Mason’s then-girlfriend, Caitlyn Lancashire, exposing their “illicit liaison.”
The Guardian reports: “Mason admitted beating Alex to death but denied murder, saying he had experienced a loss of control during the killing after being blackmailed by the younger teenager. The trial heard they had a brief sexual relationship before Alex told Mason’s then girlfriend that the older teenager had sent him explicit photos and , who lived with his family on a farm near Knutsford, Cheshire, claimed Alex had tried to attack him before his death. Mason told jurors he had asked friends and family for money to pay Alex but did not tell them what it was for. He said he was embarrassed and worried after having sex with the younger boy, adding that he thought it was wrong ‘because he was a male and, secondly, his age’.”
Said the judge at the sentencing: “I sentence you for the murder of a 15 year old boy, something I think you will never ever understand. What is clear to me is that Alex was a much loved son grandson, brother and also a friend to many young persons. Although I accept he may have initiated contact with you, I am sure you not only responded to it, but actively encouraged a sexual relationship by sending him messages and the image you sent him of your erect penis and a video of you masturbating. In that regard, you clearly encouraged your young victim to involve himself in what was clearly his first real sexual experience. In other words, you groomed him. 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. 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. You are a selfish individual and thought about nobody but yourself.”