Matthew Mason, a then 19-year-old UK man, was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison for the premeditated murder of Alex Rodda, a 15-year-old schoolboy he feared would expose their relationship.
In the weeks leading up to the murder, Mason had paid Rodda more than £2,000 in an effort to stop him from revealing that they were having a sexual relationship.
Mason drove Rodda to a wooded area and beat him 15 times with a metal wrench, left his body in the woods, then met friends at a pub for a beer in order to form an alibi.
The Guardian reports: “Mason admitted beating Alex to death but denied murder, saying he had experienced a loss of control during the killing after being blackmailed by the younger teenager. The trial heard they had a brief sexual relationship before Alex told Mason’s then girlfriend that the older teenager had sent him explicit photos and messages.Mason, who lived with his family on a farm near Knutsford, Cheshire, claimed Alex had tried to attack him before his death. Mason told jurors he had asked friends and family for money to pay Alex but did not tell them what it was for. He said he was embarrassed and worried after having sex with the younger boy, adding that he thought it was wrong ‘because he was a male and, secondly, his age’.”
Said the judge at the sentencing: “I sentence you for the murder of a 15 year old boy, something I think you will never ever understand. What is clear to me is that Alex was a much loved son grandson, brother and also a friend to many young persons. Although I accept he may have initiated contact with you, I am sure you not only responded to it, but actively encouraged a sexual relationship by sending him messages and the image you sent him of your erect penis and a video of you masturbating. In that regard, you clearly encouraged your young victim to involve himself in what was clearly his first real sexual experience. In other words, you groomed him. He didn’t realise the consequences of what he was doing, you clearly understood this. In reality not only were you much older, not just in years, but more emotionally mature than him. In the days leading up to his death you send him messages inviting him to have sex in some special or secret place. You deliberately took that heavy wrench and you chose that spot. It was a devastating weapon. You are a selfish individual and thought about nobody but yourself.”