A young man in the United Kingdom was found guilty of bludgeoning a 15-year-old to death. According to the BBC, Matthew Mason, 19, was found guilty of the violent beating death of Alex Rodda, in Ashely, Chesire, on the evening of December 12, 2019. Mason, an agricultural student who lived on a farm with his millionaire parents, admitted to killing Rodda with a wrench, but claimed in court that Rodda was blackmailing him by threatening to expose their relationship, and that he only acted in self-defense. The jury took a little less than 10 hours to reach their verdict.
“Our son Alex was a wonderful, gentle, loving, kind, caring, respectful boy who loved life and lived life to the full,” Rodda’s family said in a statement. “His precious life was cut short all too soon at the hands of Matthew Mason.”
According to testimony heard in court, Mason, then 18, had a girlfriend and considered himself straight, but began to question his sexuality after he claimed Rodda “persuaded” him to have sex on multiple occasions. Mason also sent an explicit pictures and video to Rodda. For reasons not entirely clear, Rodda later sent a text to Mason’s girlfriend with the picture and video, and claimed Mason was sending flirtatious messages. The age of consent in the U.K. is 16.
Mason denied the claim, but the next day began sending money directly to Rodda’s bank account. He said he was fearful his friends would reject him if he was gay or bisexual, and that Rodda would report him to the police.
Mason arranged to meet Rodda on the evening of December 12. He claims it was only to stop the relationship and the blackmail. However, the court heard testimony he had earlier searched the internet for information on poisoning and pushing someone down the stairs. He killed Rodda after driving him to a secluded section of woods alongside a road. He claimed Rodda grabbed the wrench and struck him first, and that he only acted in self-defense. Mason left the scene and a still-breathing Rodda to clean up at a friend’s outhouse, then visited the local pubs for drinks. Rodda’s body was found by trash men the following morning, having died from the injuries sustained during the beating. Mason was arrested with the murder weapon in his car and Rodda’s dried blood still on his hands.
The jury voted 10 to 2 to convict Mason, who reportedly sobbed in the docket as his verdict was read to the court. Rodda’s family was also in tears, but had little empathy for their son’s murderer.
"We have never come across a more selfish, cold and calculating person,” they said of Mason.