A British teen has been found guilty of bludgeoning a schoolboy to death after the boy apparently threatened to reveal their sexual relationship.
Matthew Mason, 19, has been found guilty of murdering Alex Rodda, 15, in 2019 after a jury convicted him 10 to 2, following nine and a half hours of deliberation, the Manchester Evening News reports. Mason cried as the verdict was read as did members of the victim’s family, the BBC reports.
Prosecutors say that Mason, at the time an 18-year-old agricultural engineering student, lured Rodda to a secluded, wooded area and then bludgeoned him to death in order to keep him quiet about their secret relationship, prosecutors said during Mason’s murder trial, the BBC reported.
Rodda’s partially naked body was found in a wooded area on Dec. 13, 2019, the Manchester Evening News reported. He had been beaten at least 15 times with a long wrench. Prosecutor Ian Unsworth of the Queen’s Council told Chester Crown Court that Mason lured the boy to the isolated area "on the pretense of sexual activity and then murdered him in cold blood,” the BBC reported.
Unsworth told the court that the victim and suspect "enjoyed an intimate sexual relationship,” the BBC reports.
Mason had a girlfriend at the time and Unsworth stated that Rodda had reached out to her weeks before the murder, claiming he was receiving “flirty” messages and sexual images from Mason. Unsworth told the court that the victim confided in a friend that Mason began paying him for sex. He told the friend that if the payments stopped, he would report him, Unsworth said.
Mason had allegedly paid the teen £2,020. Recovered messages allegedly show that Mason complained that the teen was "cleaning him out."
Mason's lawyer Gordon Cole argued the killing was done in self-defense, the BBC reported. He claimed that Mason organized the pair’s final meeting so he could tell Rodda that "this behavior, this blackmail, had to stop.”
In a statement following the conviction, Rodda’s family called the Mason a “selfish” and “cold and calculating person."
"Mason has attempted to blame Alex and discredit his name throughout this trial and thankfully the jury were able to see through his web of deceit,” they stated.
Mason is expected to be sentenced on Jan. 25.
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