A 19-year-old British man who murdered his 15-year-old male lover after the victim exposed their relationship to the killer’s girlfriend has been jailed for life. Matthew Mason beat Alex Rodda to death in a wooded area in Cheshire, near Manchester on December 12 after luring the younger boy to the location under the “pretense of sexual activity.” Once Rodda arrived, Mason bludgeoned him with a wrench until he died. Now, Mason will spend the rest of his life behind bars, the Manchester Evening News reports.
- The teens had only been involved for six weeks. Things soured quickly between Mason and Rodda, especially as the latter boy was openly gay while Mason had a girlfriend and was extremely closeted and afraid to come out to his wealthy parents, with whom he lived on a large farm in the area. While they knew one another at school, they had nothing in common and had only recently begun texting. At one point, Mason sent Rodda an explicit photo and video of himself while drunk after a night out following Rodda’s admission that he found Mason “fit.”
- Rodda contacted Mason’s girlfriend, Caitlyn Lancashire, about their relationship. In addition to threatening to upload the sexual content to social media, Rodda is also said to have reached out to Lancashire to tell her about their sexual texts, which enraged Mason. “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,” Rodda wrote in a text to the girl. “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 Instagram.”
- Rodda fessed up to Mason about contacting his girlfriend. Claiming that their interactions were wrong due to Mason already being in a relationship, Rodda texted Mason: “u have a gf that loves [you], there’s no need to speak to me. Look, your gf loves you. She doesn’t know what to think because she [and] you were together for 2 years like wtf if u were that serious u should not of got your d*** out at the end of the day. U need to tell your gf the truth Matt because I already have.”
- Rodda also threatened to upload the explicit content to social media. Rodda allegedly threatened Mason with exposing him publicly online if he didn’t pay him £50. “Remember when you sent me ur d*** n u w***** oh yeah i got the picture you sent. Don’t lie now there’s no point Matt I’ve got the proof,” the texts read. By a few weeks later, Mason is said to have paid Rodda £2,020 out of embarrassment, The Sun reports.
- Rodda knew what he was doing was wrong. According to several of his friends, all of whom were not named due to their age, Rodda was “naive” and saw what he was doing to Mason “as a game.” As one of Rodda’s closest friends explained: “The difference between him being a child and an adult – he was naive. I don’t think he understood the concept of everything.”
- He felt something was wrong when he went to meet Mason. When Mason asked Rodda to meet him in a secluded area, Rodda texted his friends to say that “this guy I’m meeting wants to take me to a special secret place in a forest” and that he was going because he “needed the money.”
- Mason brutally beat Rodda with the wrench and left him for dead. After hitting him at least 15 times on the head with the tool, he then threw him out of the car and left him in the woods to die despite seeing that the younger boy was still breathing. Then, he went to meet up with friends at a local pub for an alibi. He later claimed that he acted in self-defense and that Rodda hit him first.
- Mason was sentenced to life in prison. He’ll have to serve a minimum of 28 years before being eligible for parole. Judge Everett told killer Mason during 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.”
- The judge believes Mason “groomed” Rodda in many ways. “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,” Judge Everett continued. “He didn’t realize 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.”