A mother of a schoolboy murdered by a millionaire farmer’s son to prevent him from revealing their gay affair has insisted her child was “punished and cruelly snatched” for being “free and herself”.
On December 12, 2019, Matthew Mason, then 18, lured Alex Rodda to a remote woodland near the village of Ashley in Cheshire with the promise of sex before beating him to death with a wrench.
The killer had been involved in an intimate sexual relationship with Alex, but the 15-year-old eventually discovered that Mason had been dating a girl for two years.
Fearing exposure, Mason – who was given a life sentence after being found guilty of murder – later paid the teenager £2,000 to keep quiet about their contacts in the weeks leading up to Alex’s death.
In a new ITV2 documentary, The Murder of Alex Rodda: Social Media Murders, which airs tonight at 9pm and tells the tragic story, Alex’s mother Lisa bursts into tears as she recalls her last conversation with her son in which he left the house to meet. Mason.
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On December 12, 2019, Matthew Mason, then 18, lured Alex Rodda (pictured) to a remote woodland near the village of Ashley in Cheshire with the promise of sex before beating him to death with a wrench
In a new ITV2 documentary, The Murder of Alex Rodda: Social Media Murders, which airs tonight at 9pm and tells the tragic story, Alex’s mother Lisa (pictured) bursts into tears as she recalls her last conversation with her son in which he left home to meet Mason
Mason (pictured) had been involved in an intimate sexual relationship with Alex, but the 15-year-old eventually discovered that Mason had been dating a girl for two years
On the show, she says, “Alex’s life was so cruelly taken from him, all at the hands of another boy who couldn’t be free and be himself. My son was punished for it.’
Alex’s father, Adam Rodda Snr, also appears in the documentary, sharing his grief that his son will never experience a healthy romantic relationship.
He says: ‘At one point, Masen said, ‘Alex tried to kiss me and I said not to kiss’. That made my blood boil.
“And that’s unforgivable for me, because that’s one of the things my son missed. He has missed a loving relationship. He never will.’
Mason was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 28 years to serve before being eligible for parole Board release. After he appealed his sentence, the minimum term was reduced to 26 years.
Fearing exposure, Mason (pictured left) – who was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of murder – later paid the teenager (pictured right) £2,000 to keep quiet about their contacts in the weeks prior to the death of Alex
During his month-long trial, it was revealed that Alex was in an intimate sexual relationship with Mason prior to the murder in 2019.
But, coming from a wealthy farming background, Mason believed his friends wouldn’t accept him if he was gay or bisexual.
In the week before the murder, Mason searched the Internet for phrases such as “what would happen if you kicked someone down the stairs,” “everyday poison” and “The mysteries of Cheshire’s unsolved deaths of missing persons.”
Alex’s half-naked body was found by garbage collectors on December 13, 2019. His head and body had taken at least 15 blows.
Chester Judge Steven Everett’s Honorary Recorder sentenced Mason to life in prison, telling him, “This was a premeditated murder, carefully planned and, in my judgment, carried out ruthlessly with no empathy for your victim and a heartless disregard for his family and friends.’
After the 20-year-old was found guilty of murder in January 2021, Alex’s family said: “We have never met a more selfish, colder and more calculating person.”
Alex’s parents previously released a video, pictured left, of their 15-year-old son, pictured right
Mason admitted to hitting Alex with the key, but denied murder, arguing that he acted in self-defense and that he lost control after being provoked.
He told the court that he did not believe his friends would accept him if he was gay or bisexual.
During the trial, Alex learned that he had contacted Mason’s then-girlfriend, Caitlyn Lancashire, in November 2019, telling her that he had sent “flirty” messages and an explicit photo and video.
Mason denied the allegations to his girlfriend but started making payments into Alex’s bank account around the same time.
By the time of Alex’s death, Mason had transferred more than £2,200 and asked friends and family to borrow money, the court heard.
Mason, who lived with his family on a farm near Knutsford, admitted to having sex with Alex but said he thought it was “wrong”.
On December 12, 2019, Mason picked up Alex from outside his home and drove him to a remote forest area outside Ashley, near Altrincham. Pictured: Alex’s brother Adam, his mother Lisa, his father Adam and Adam’s partner Maxine Pritchard
On December 12, 2019, Mason picked up Alex from outside his home and drove him to a remote forest area outside Ashley, near Altrincham.
He beat the popular schoolboy to death with a large metal wrench in what the pathologist described as “a violent, repeated attack.”
Mason stayed with Alex’s body for about an hour before leaving the area and going to a friend’s outhouse to clean up after himself.
He then went to two different pubs where he was seen on CCTV having a pint with friends and smiling a Snapchat selfie at his group of friends of his, which was shown to the court.
At around 2 a.m., Mason drove back to the secluded spot and attempted to move Alex’s body by dragging it out of the woods. After moving his body 20 meters, he gave up and drove home.
In the hours following his murder, Alex’s mother grew increasingly concerned when he failed to return home and made numerous attempts to call his phone, but the calls were unsuccessful.
She called some of his friends, who knew he had developed a relationship with Mason, so she sent him over two hours.
Alex’s mother was made aware of this and contacted Mason before reporting her son missing to the police.
Most of their calls and messages went unanswered as Mason traveled back to the scene of his crime.
The Murder of Alex Rodda: Social Media Murders, tonight at 9pm on ITV2 and ITV Hub