Father of Alex Rodda, 15, says killer 'treated him like a prostitute'

Father of schoolboy, 15, who was murdered by millionaire farmer’s son to stop him exposing gay affair says killer ‘treated him like a prostitute’ and reveals how his family have been targeted by online trolls

  • Matthew Mason, 19, bludgeoned 15-year-old Alex Rodda to death with a wrench 
  • Murder trial heard Mason had lured victim to woodland with the promise of sex  
  • Alex had ‘threatened’ to reveal relationship after finding Mason was dating a girl 
  • Mason has been jailed for life with minimum of 28 years at Chester Crown Court
  • Now Alex’s father Adam Rodda has slammed Mason for treating his son ‘like a prostitute’ before killing him

The devastated father of murdered schoolboy Alex Rodda has hit out as his son’s killer for treating him ‘like a prostitute’ after details of their intimate sexual relationship were revealed in court.

Adam Rodda Snr called Matthew Mason ‘devious’ after seeing him convicted for the ‘ferocious and merciless attack’ on Alex to stop him exposing their sexual affair to his girlfriend.

Mason, then 18, lured 15-year-old Alex Rodda to remote woodland near the village of Ashley in Cheshire with the promise of sex before beating him to death with a wrench.

Last month, Mason, now 20, was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 28 years after he was found guilty of murder following a month-long trial at Chester Crown Court. 

Mr Rodda also says his family, who are still ‘very upset’ by the loss of Alex, have have been plagued by online trolls since the case became public, with some saying that the schoolboy ‘deserved’ his fate.

‘The fact somebody would rather murder somebody than come out as gay suggests there is something wrong with him – normal people don’t do that,’ said Mr Rodda of Mason.

Speaking of the trial, he added: ‘When Mason said there was no kissing [in the relationship] that really upset me, there’s my boy wanting to show affection and this guy is treating him like a prostitute.’

During the month-long trial, it was revealed that Alex had been in an intimate sexual relationship with Mason prior to the killing in 2019. 

But coming from a wealthy farming background, Mason believed that his friends would not accept him if he was gay or bisexual.

Adam Rodda Snr says killer Matthew Mason treated his 15-year-old son Alex ‘like a prostitute’ before bludgeoning him to death in secluded woodland. Pictured: Mr Rodda outside court following Mason’s guilty verdict

Matthew Mason, 20, (left) admitted bludgeoning 15-year-old Alex Rodda (right) to death with a wrench in woods in Ashley, Cheshire, on December 12, 2019 but denied murder. He was however found guilty of murder and jailed for a minimum of 28 years

After having sex with Alex, who was under the age of consent, Mason knew he could be facing serious consequences if his secret was revealed, the trial heard.

So when Alex allegedly threatened to expose their affair, Mason paid him £2,000 to keep quiet over a three-week period, yet continued to ‘groom’ him after.

On 12 December 2019, Mason lured Alex to a woodland off Ashley Mill Lane, where he repeatedly struck him over the head with a wrench.

He then smoked a cigarette whilst Alex, from Pickmere, near Knutsford, lay helpless on the ground, before leaving him to die alone.

Alex’s semi-naked body was found by refuse collectors on December 13, 2019. His head and body had suffered at least 15 blows.

In the week before the murder, Mason had made internet searches for phrases including ‘what would happen if you kicked someone down the stairs’, ‘everyday poison’ and ‘The mysteries of Cheshire unsolved deaths of missing people’. 

Mr Rodda also says his family, who are still ‘very upset’ by the loss of Alex, have have been plagued by online trolls since the case became public, with some saying that the schoolboy ‘deserved’ his fate. Pictured: Alex’s brother Adam, his mother Lisa, his father Adam and Adam’s partner Maxine Pritchard

The 20-year-old had used a long and heavy wrench (pictured) to repeatedly beat 15-year-old Alex to the head and body with an estimated 15 separate blows and causing fatal injuries

Mason dragged Alex’s body to the track at the side of the road in an attempt to put him inside his car. After failing, he drove away. Mason had dried blood on his hands and inside his car was a bin bag with his blood-stained green fleece, the wrench and Alex’s large padded jacket

Mason drove Alex to a wooded area in Cheshire and subjected him to a ferocious and attack

The victim’s family had to endure the distressing detail of their son’s killing – and the killer’s attacks on Alex’s character including claims of blackmail – during the murder trial.

The process has left Mr Rodda unhappy at the justice system – and keen to set the record straight about the wonderful son he lost to a brutal crime.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Mr Rodda said: ‘Alex was kind and considerate, full of life, he loved his music and technology – he had everything going for him.

‘He was a big 6ft 2in lad but he was like a baby, he still wanted attention, he still wanted a cuddle.

‘He was taking over my pub; he said to me: “Dad when you retire, I’ll take over it.”.

Matthew Mason (pictured left), 20, bludgeoned Alex Rodda (right), 15, to death with a wrench in Ashley, Cheshire. Mason admitted hitting Rodda with the wrench but denied murder

‘He was good at it and he loved the hospitality side of it.

‘He didn’t really have ambition like Adam [Rodda Jnr, Alex’s brother], he was a lot more laid back and we were happy to embrace that.’

The family has experienced loss before, Mr Rodda said, but nothing like this. Mr Rodda said: ‘The way he passed has been particularly hard for the wider family – they are hurting too.

‘Both Nanas miss him dreadfully, his cousins, aunties, uncles – they were all very upset about it.’

Throughout the trial, Mason continually told the jury that Alex was blackmailing him, using the evidence brought before the court to further his defence.

Mr Rodda said: ‘That’s the most important thing for me – part of the problem is the justice system.

‘The fact he can say ‘no comment’ in his interview, wait for all the evidence to be presented, then weave his story around that evidence is wrong.

‘He was very on the ball with the evidence – he was practised, he was ready for the question.

Alex’s mother Lisa Rodda, pictured arriving at Chester Crown Court in December

‘Anything from outside the evidence he was useless, he lied, he was tongue-tied. 

‘The justice system is not right. People have got to answer for their crimes and not be given that (no comment) opportunity.

‘Alex obviously has contributed to his own downfall to a degree because of what he did.

‘But it was never blackmail, it was about being paid for sex and to be kept quiet. But all he [Mason] can say is blackmail.’

It was suggested by Mason that Alex told him he ‘would ruin his life either socially or financially’, if he didn’t pay up.

Mr Rodda said: ‘When would any 15-year-old use words like that? – Alex wouldn’t.

‘He liked nice things, he would love treating his friends. He gets this chap who a) gives him attention, his first partner and b) he is paying him.

The order of service from the 15-year-old’s funeral on Wednesday 29 January, 2020

Alex’s parents released a video of their 15-year-old son. In a statement, his family said: ‘Our son Alex was a wonderful, gentle, loving, kind, caring, respectful boy who loved life and lived life to the full. His precious life was cut short all too soon at the hands of Matthew Mason’

‘Any 15-year-old is going to accept that and think it’s great – but obviously it wasn’t right.’

As he gave evidence, Mason, of Ash Farm in Ollerton, Knutsford, spoke in a robotic, slow, almost methodical monotone in response to questions asked of him.

This facade soon slipped as he reached day three on the stand.

Mr Rodda said: ‘After the very first break, the prosecution team and the police trawled through his social media videos to see if he was putting (the voice) on – and he was.

‘As the days wore on he wore out of it.

‘That’s how devious he was – the fact he wanted to disguise the way he spoke. He knew what he was doing.

‘The fact somebody would rather murder somebody than come out as gay suggests there is something wrong with him – normal people don’t do that.

‘(Being gay) was the last thing he wanted to be.

‘At any point he could have said to Alex: “This is not happening, I’m not giving you any more money, we are finished”.

‘I don’t know how his thought process was, thinking “I’ll go and shut this kid up permanently to stop him from saying something he was going to say”.’

Alex Rodda’s family share heart-breaking statements with court

In a victim impact statement read in court today, Alex’s father, Adam Rodda Snr, said: ‘I am the father of Alex and I give this statement on behalf of his mother, his brothers, sisters, grandparents, wider family and friends.

‘Alex was my and my ex-wife’s child. He was 15 at the time of his death and he was in his final year at Holmes Chapel, where he has many friends.

‘Alex would often end a call and he would always say ‘I love you’ at the end of every phone call to his mum and to me.

‘He would say this irrespective if his friends were there or not. It never stopped him.

‘He always contributed himself to things he wanted and customers at work loved Alex, his confidence and happiness and he made an impression on people who would do anything else but love him.

‘I have lost count of the amount of times customers said how lovely he was. He would always give them a hug and a kiss.

‘But I will never get over the loss of our beautiful little boy.

‘I will never get the chance to see him experience things in life that we all take for granted; having a loving relationship, getting married, having children, learning to drive and owning a car – something he was particular looking forward to.

‘I am personally devastated for my poor boy feeling scared and alone before his death.

‘I will not rest until I know what happened to my little boy.

‘If I know the suffering he went through I can also suffer the pain he suffered and I can share the pain, then I would feel he has not suffered alone.

‘I will never know what happened. I feel like I failed to protect my beautiful boy and I will never get over that feeling.’

Lisa Rodda, Alex’s mother said: ‘For those who have had a child can only know the joy you experience by having that child of your own. It’s unconditional love.

‘They become the biggest treasure in your life.

‘When you lose your child in the most horrific and brutal circumstances, as parents you really do experience hell.’

Since Alex was reported as missing, the family have been plagued by online trolls who have repeatedly said that the schoolboy ‘deserved’ his fate.

Mr Rodda said he received messages on the night of Alex’s disappearance from people with Russian names claiming to have kidnapped him – this was later found to be false.

Mr Rodda said: ‘We want people to know about Alex, to see what he was like rather than the picture that was portrayed in court.

‘He was my boy and I hate it.

‘He was a happy, fun loving boy, he loved people and loved being the centre of attention.

‘He didn’t have a bad bone in his body.

‘He might have had his pitfalls but he was a kind, happy boy.

‘Even at 15, on occasion he would sit with me on my bed whilst I was watching TV.

‘What 15-year-old boy would do that?

‘Every time he picked up the phone or left the house he would say ‘love you’, he would do that irrespective of where he was.

‘He would always give us a kiss before he left.’

Since coming out as gay to his family at 13, Alex was supported and encouraged to embrace his sexuality – in stark contrast to Mason.

Despite being bullied over the years, Alex ‘took it in his stride’.

Mr Rodda said: ‘I used to wind him up, I used to joke saying: “Have you got yourself a boyfriend yet?” and he would say: “Shut up dad”.

‘It would have been nice for him to have had a loving relationship.

‘Unfortunately his first relationship is one that led to his death.

‘I just wish I knew what Alex’s thoughts were. Did he have feelings for him?

‘When Mason said there was no kissing [in the relationship] that really upset me, there’s my boy wanting to show affection and this guy is treating him like a prostitute.’

Since his death in 2019, Alex’s family have continued to celebrate him on special occasions such as his 16th birthday and Christmas.

Last year, his grave was adorned with flowers, balloons and teddy bears.

His dad says they remember him ‘at every opportunity’.

Mr Rodda said: ‘It’s his 17th birthday coming up, I’ve got messages where he was saying he wanted driving lessons and wanted me to get him a car.

‘I used to take him to a deserted car park and let him drive my car and he loved it.

‘He would have loved to be mobile, to do this and that – he’s never going to get that chance now.’

Looking to the future, Mr Rodda still has many unanswered questions.

Mr Rodda said: ‘I want to know why he [Mason] didn’t feel able to speak about his sexuality.

‘Was it his parents or did they do everything right and it’s just the way he is?

‘I would like to know the truth about every single thing on that night – now it feels like I never will.

‘I don’t know how scared Alex was, I don’t know whether he went into the forest voluntarily or whether he was forced.

‘I have all sorts of questions that I want to know that I don’t think I will ever get an answer for.’

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