Teenager found guilty of murdering 15-year-old schoolboy Alex Rodda

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A teenager has been convicted of murdering a schoolboy in Ashley.

A jury at Chester Crown Court today Matthew Mason, 19, guilty of the murder of 15-year-old Alex Rodda on Thursday December 12th 2019.

Alex’s partially stripped body was found by refuse collectors on Ashley Mill Lane, on the border between Hale and Ashley, the following morning.

Mason, from Knutsford, used a heavy and long wrench to repeatedly beat Alex – a pupil at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School – to the head and body with an estimated 15 separate blows, in what was a ferocious and merciless attack.

Alex Rodda was a pupil at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School

In the months before Alex’s death he had been in an intimate relationship with Mason during which Alex received money from him so that he did not disclose their relationship.

After committing his attack he left him alone in the woods and disposed of Alex’s mobile phone.

He then visited The Red Lion pub in Pickmere and The Golden Pheasant pub in Plumley where he had a drink with friends before making his way home to Ash Lane, Ollerton.

A police cordon set up on Ashley Mill Lane the day after Alex’s body was found

Meanwhile, Alex’s mum was becoming increasingly concerned when he did not return home and she made numerous attempts to ring his phone but the calls would not connect.

She rang a number of his friends who said they had not seen or spoken to him that evening.

As Alex’s friends knew he had formed a relationship with Mason they messaged him over two hours, desperate to know he was safe and well. Alex’s mum was made aware of this and contacted Mason before reporting her son missing to police.

Most of their calls and messages went unanswered as Mason travelled back to the scene of his horrific crime in the early hours of Friday 13th December.

It is during this time that the prosecution believes Mason went into the woods and dragged Alex’s body to the track at the side of the road in an attempt to put him inside his car.

Matthew Mason’s black Renault Clio, photographed at the scene by a witness

After failing to do this he then drove away.

After Alex’s body was found a witness informed police he had taken a photo shortly after 6pm on Thursday 12th December. The photo was of a black Renault Clio parked on the track beside the gated entrance to the woods.

The details of the car were checked by police and Mason was identified as the owner of the vehicle.

He was stopped by officers as he drove towards Telford, on the A41 in Staffordshire, shortly before midday on Friday 13 December.

Mason had dried blood on his hands and fingers and inside the boot of his car was a bin bag with his blood stained green fleece, the wrench and Alex’s large padded jacket.

The wrench used by Mason to kill Alex in a ferocious attack

Following his arrest he was taken into custody to be questioned before being charged with murder.

Today Mason was found guilty of the murder of Alex.

Detective Inspector Nigel Reid, from Cheshire Police’s Major Investigation Team, said: “It has been a painstaking investigation involving a dedicated team of detectives. They have worked extremely hard to gather evidence to show the true extent of the relationship between Mason and Alex and the true picture of what happened that night.

“I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to Mr and Mrs Rodda for their patience and support throughout the investigation.

The remote woodland in Ashley where Alex Rodda was killed on December 12th 2019

“The true extent of Mason and Alex’s relationship could not have been done without the bravery and courage of Alex’s friends. They provided key information to the investigation, despite their grief and heartache, in order to secure justice for their friend.

“Mason had murder on his mind as he drove Alex to his death under the pretence of sexual activity. He chose a secluded place to kill him in cold blood, a place he believed he would go unseen and his crime undetected.

“Alex was a popular young boy who was much loved by his family and friends. I hope the conviction of Mason helps Alex’s family and his close friends to come to terms with such a terrible tragedy.

“My thoughts continue to be with them all.”

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