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Young farmer, Matthew Mason 'who allegedly beats his schoolboy lover to death in a wood would sneak to victim's house for sex but also had a girlfriend

 


The Young farmer 'who beat his schoolboy lover to death in a wood would sneak to victim's house for sex but also had a girlfriend because he didn't want people to know he was gay' court hears


Matthew Mason, 19, allegedly bludgeoned Alex Rodda, 15, to death last year

His body was later found in woods near the rural village of Ashley in Cheshire

Court heard Mason lured victim to woodland with the promise of sex

Alleged Alex 'threatened' to reveal relationship after finding out Mason had been dating a girl for two years

Mason had 'paid Alex more than £2,000' and arranged meeting to say 'the blackmail had to stop'


In an update to the news published earlier, the Mail news reported yesterday that the college student accused of killing a 15-year-old schoolboy he was in a sexual relationship with also had a girlfriend because he didn’t want anyone to know he was gay, a court has heard.

Matthew Mason, then 18, lured Alex Rodda to remote woodland near the village of Ashley in Cheshire with the promise of sex and then beat him to death with a large metal wrench, prosecutors claim.

In his trial at Chester Crown Court, Mason's barrister told the jury Mason's case was that he had already paid Alex more than £2,000 over the previous weeks and he had arranged the rendezvous to tell him 'the blackmail had to stop'.

The jurors were told the defendant, who was studying a three-year Agricultural Engineering course at Reaseheath College, had been involved in an intimate sexual relationship with the 15-year-old Holmes Chapel High School pupil. 

But it is alleged Alex had 'threatened' to reveal their relationship after finding out Mason had been dating a girl for two years.

He was warned this was 'akin to blackmail', a jury was told.

A witness told the court that Mason went round to Alex's house several times to have sex 'when his mum was out'.

'She wasn’t there a lot as she was working. There were five occasions I know about,' she said.

She alleged that Mason was secretive about the relationship because 'he didn’t want anyone to know he was gay' because he was in the Young Farmers agriculture federation. 

'He didn’t want his family to know,' she added. 

Mason, now 19, of Ollerton, Knutsford, admits he hit Alex with the wrench but denies murder, arguing he acted in self-defence and that he had lost control after being provoked.

Alex Rodda's semi-naked body was found by refuse collectors on December 13 last year.

His head and body had suffered at least 15 blows.

As the trial resumed yesterday, the prosecutor Ian Unsworth QC completed his opening address and told the jury that, after inflicting the fatal blows, the defendant cleaned himself at a friend's farm outhouse and then visited friends in The Red Lion in Pickmere and later the Golden Pheasant in Bromley.

One said they thought he appeared to be 'his normal happy self', the court was told.

He took a selfie picture in one pub and posted it on Snapchat, which the prosecution say was the defendant 'laying the ground' for a potential alibi.

That night he sent his girlfriend a goodnight message with a photograph of him smiling in bed with no top on, said the QC.

Alex's mother Lisa, who had been out for a meal at the Roebuck public house in Knutsford with a friend, made a series of unsuccessful attempts to call her son on her way home and later learned he had been with the defendant, said the prosecutor.

She eventually managed to get through to Mason who told her he had dropped Alex off near The Hermitage near Goostrey at about 6pm and that Alex had said he was going into Manchester with some unnamed friends, the jurors were told.

Mason offered to go to her home to explain but she refused, the court heard.

'She wanted him nowhere near her. She screamed at him that she was going to call the police,' said the QC.

The jurors were told that, after receiving a message from Cheshire Police to get in touch about the missing youngster, Mason returned to the woodland after midnight where he was said to have attempted to move the body but had abandoned the task.

Hours after the body was discovered, Mason was stopped by police on the A41 in Staffordshire and was arrested.

He appeared to have scratches and grazing to his lower back near to his waistband and also had scratches and cuts to the left side of his face. He appeared to also have dried blood on his hands and fingers, the court was told.

In the boot police found a blood-stained wrench and other items. 

Showing the jurors the wrench, the QC said: 'This was the weapon used to kill Alex.'

Concluding his opening address, Mr Unsworth said: 'On any view, this is a tragic case. It is possible that some may conclude that some aspects of Alex's behaviour were those of an immature young man who did not cover himself in glory at every turn.

'Even if that is a view that any one of you share, the prosecution contend that that simply does not provide an excuse let alone a defence for what this defendant did.

'We suggest bluntly that over a period of several weeks if not months in the latter part of 2019, Matthew Mason enjoyed a sexual relationship with Alex Rodda, a 15-year-old schoolboy.

'Over that time, Matthew Mason paid Alex over £2,000. You may well think that Matthew Mason didn't want Alex to tell anyone about their relationship. He manifestly made sure that Alex never could.'

Gordon Cole QC, defending, told the jury Matthew Mason 'was persuaded by Alex Rodda to allow him, Alex Rodda, to perform acts of a sexual nature upon Matthew Mason'.

'What followed in the following weeks, was that Alex Rodda started to blackmail Matthew Mason,' said the QC.

The defendant struggled to obtain the money and used cash he borrowed from his family, the court was told.

Mr Cole said that by the beginning of December 2019 Matthew Mason 'could simply get no more money, yet Alex Rodda continued to ask for money, specifically asking for money on Monday 9th December'.

Alex Rodda threatened to tell everyone about their 'relationship' if he didn't pay, he said.

The defendant agreed to meet Alex and intended to say that this 'blackmail' had to stop, said the QC.

The QC said the violence in the woods had been started by Alex Rodda and that the defendant had to defend himself with a weapon he had taken to 'frighten' Alex.

The jurors were told that when one friend questioned Alex what he would do if Mason didn't continue to pay, Alex is said to have replied: 'Will tell the fed and get him on sex offenders.'

After he is said to have referenced feeling unwell following one sexual encounter, the jurors heard that Alex's friend wrote: 'That's what you get for being a prostitute.'

Alex replied 'money money money' to which the friend replied 'infection infection infection', the jurors were told.

The trial continues. 

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