Teen who ‘bludgeoned 15-year-old lover to death’ was being ‘blackmailed’ and didn’t want anybody to ‘know he was gay’
A man accused of murdering a teenage boy he was paying for sex didn’t want anyone to know he was gay because he was a member of the Young Farmers, a court has heard.
Matthew Mason, now aged 19, allegedly bludgeoned 15-year-old Alex Rodda to death, beating him at least 15 times with “a heavy and long wrench” in a forest in Cheshire on 12 December, 2019.
He is accused of taking Rodda to the forest “on the pretence of sexual activity” before launching a “brutal and merciless” attack on the boy.
On the third day of a trial at Chester Crown Court, jurors heard a prerecorded police interview with a friend of the deceased.
In the interview, Rodda’s friend – who cannot be named for legal reasons – claimed Mason hid his sexuality because he was a member of the Young Farmers, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Rodda’s friend told police that he knew about the nature of the deceased’s relationship with Mason, saying: “I know he pays him to have sex with him.”
The friend continued: “Alex told me the night after the first time [they had sex] that Matt said no at first and then he did, then Alex asked him for money.
“I said ‘it’s not fair’ and he was saying he said to him if he didn’t he would tell the police. I told him to stop as it wasn’t right, I said it’s like blackmail and stuff.”
Rodda’s friend told police that Mason would go to the deceased’s home while his mother was working and would pay the teenager for sex.
“Matt didn’t want anyone to know he was gay because he was in the Young Farmers and stuff and they are quite racist and homophobic and stuff,” Rodda’s friend added.
“He didn’t want his family to know.”
Friends begged the accused for information when Alex Rodda went missing
The court also heard that Mason was last in contact with Alex Rodda on Snapchat just minutes before he collected him from his home on the day of the murder.
Later that evening, Mason went to a friend’s home and texted his mother, telling her he would be home by 8.30pm.
He then called a friend and went to the Red Lion pub just after 7pm, where he took a selfie of himself with a drink.
Rodda’s mother tried to contact her son at 9.24pm, but his phone was disconnected. The device has not been recovered since his death.
That evening, as it became clear that Rodda was missing, Mason began to receive messages from friends and family of the deceased asking where he was.
Mason told two of Rodda’s friends that the schoolboy went into Manchester with friends after their meeting.
Rodda was reported missing at 11.22pm that evening, and police texted Mason at 12.35am asking him to make contact. After he received the message, Mason drove back to the forest where Rodda’s body was discovered, the court heard.
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.
Mason denies that he murdered the 15-year-old boy and claims he acted in self-defence and lost control after he was provoked.
The court heard earlier this week that Mason had a girlfriend of two years when he embarked on a sexual relationship with Rodda.
The 15-year-old boy contacted Mason’s girlfriend after discovering that he was in a relationship, telling her: “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**khead move and I didn’t know he was dating you until I went to go follow him on Instagram.”
He also said Mason had been “flirty” with him and had sent photos and videos of himself masturbating.
When confronted by his girlfriend, Mason denied the allegations – however, he went on to pay £50 into the schoolboy’s bank account, the first of a series of payments totalling £2,020 by 23 November.
The trial is expected to last until early January.