A 19-year-old British apprentice stands accused of fatally bludgeoning a 15-year-old schoolboy with a wrench after paying nearly $2,700 over a three-week period to stop him from reporting their “intimate” relationship to police, prosecutors allege.
Matthew Mason, an apprentice mechanic, allegedly lured Alex Rodda to a remote wooded area under the pretense of sex last December and then struck him at least 15 times with a long wrench, the Manchester Evening News reported.
Rodda’s partially clothed body was found near the village of Ashley in Cheshire, England, on Dec. 13.
Prosecutors said the boy had been involved in an ongoing intimate relationship with Mason, then 18, at the time of his death, the newspaper reported.
Weeks before the murder, Rodda had reached out to Mason’s girlfriend and told her he had received “flirty” messages from her boyfriend, including an explicit video and photo, Prosecutor Ian Unsworth told a judge Monday.
Mason, who denies killing Rodda, also denies sending the boy explicit material. But prosecutors say the aspiring mechanic allegedly started making deposits in Rodda’s bank account, ultimately paying him $2,696.
Rodda also told a friend that Mason had been paying him for sex and threatened to go to the police if the payments stopped, which the teen’s friend said was wrong and amounted to “blackmail,” Unsworth said.
Mason later allegedly complained in messages recovered by investigators that the payments were “cleaning him out,” the Chester Chronicle reported.
Unsworth claims the pair had sex on at least five occasions after connecting on Instagram.
At one point, Rodda’s mother allegedly returned home and found her son “flustered” with Mason inside, according to the newspaper.
“Alex did not stand a chance,” Unsworth said in court Tuesday. “His life ended in those woods. His partially clothed abandoned young body was discovered by a team of refuse collectors early the next morning. His trousers and underwear gathered around his ankles, suggesting that he may have been engaged in some form of sexual activity prior to the attack and thus, may well have been highly vulnerable at that time.”
“You may well think that Matthew Mason didn’t want Alex to tell anyone about their relationship,” he added. “He manifestly made sure that Alex never could.”
Mason’s trial is expected to last several weeks.