Who was Alex Rodda and why was he killed?

by 24britishtvNov. 16, 2021, 11 p.m. 23
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A new documentary exploring the murder of Alex Rodda airs on ITV tonight.

Social Media Murders - The Murder of Alex Rodda, will look at how the internet played a role in the case, and hears from friends, family and experts about their views on what happened nearly two years ago.

But who was Alex Rodda and why was he killed?

The 15-year-old schoolboy, who went to Holmes Chapel High School was a popular young lad who was openly gay.

For Alex, discovering who he was was an exciting journey of discovery. But at just 15 years old he was naive - and that made him vulnerable, ultimately fatally, to a teenager a few, crucial years his senior.

Matthew Mason, then 18, struck up a secret relationship with Alex online, and soon began sending him explicit images before things turned sexual.

Alex, from Pickmere, Knutsford, was openly gay and gregarious. Mason was quiet, from an affluent churchgoing family, an outdoorsy, farmer's son, who had left high school to study at college.

Worried that his sexual interactions with Alex, who was under the legal age of consent, would be uncovered, Mason paid his lover almost £2,000 in cash to conceal the relationship.

When Mason, who had a girlfriend, feared Alex would go public, he lured him to his death in a woodland near Altrincham.

He used a heavy wrench to repeatedly beat Alex to the head and body with an estimated 15 blows.

Following the attack, Mason stayed with Alex’s body for around an hour before leaving the wooded area and meeting up with friends for a pint - to form a basis of his alibi.

His partially covered body was later discovered by bin collectors.

Mason attempted to persuade jurors he had used self-defence and used a secondary, partial defence of loss of control.

But a jury saw through his lies and convicted him of murder.

Mason, who lived in Ollerton, was sentenced to life imprisonment, with minimum term of 28 years to serve before he will be considered for release by the Parole Board.

After appealing his sentence, the minimum term was reduced to 26 years.

Following the court case, Alex's devastated 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.

"Mason admitted killing Alex from the outset of this trial but still felt the need to put us through the trauma of this trial in an attempt to minimise his sentence.

"He never once considered the pain it would put our family through or indeed his own family. We have never come across a more selfish, cold and calculating person."

Social Media Murders - The Murder of Alex Rodda airs tonight on ITV2 and ITV Hub at 9pm.

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