Millionaire farmer’s son, 19, denies murdering 15-year-old Alex Rodda


A teenager has denied the murder of a 15-year-old Cheshire schoolboy whose partially-stripped body was found dumped in a field.

Millionaire farmer’s son Matthew Mason, 19, of Ollerton, Cheshire, entered a not guilty plea at Chester Crown Court.  

Alex Rodda’s body was found in the village of Ashley in December last year.

Alex Rodda's body was found outside in the village of Ashley in December last year

Millionaire farmer's son Matthew Mason, 19, of Ollerton, Cheshire, denied murdering 15-year-old Cheshire schoolboy Alex Rodda

Millionaire farmer's son Matthew Mason, 19, of Ollerton, Cheshire, denied murdering 15-year-old Cheshire schoolboy Alex Rodda

Millionaire farmer’s son Matthew Mason, 19, (right) denied murdering 15-year-old Cheshire schoolboy Alex Rodda (left) whose partially-stripped body was found dumped in a field

Mason, who lives on a £1million farm near Knutsford, was charged with murder and having a knife on his possession in Newport, Shropshire, on December 13. 

Mason, from Ollerton, near Knutsford, appeared via video link from HMP Altcourse, Liverpool.

He spoke only to confirm his name and enter his not guilty plea.

Alex’s mother Lisa Rodda was among other family members who sat in court today. 

Alex's mother Lisa Rodda (right last year) was among other family members who sat in court today. Left: Alex's older brother last year

Alex's mother Lisa Rodda (right last year) was among other family members who sat in court today. Left: Alex's older brother last year

Alex’s mother Lisa Rodda (right last year) was among other family members who sat in court today. Left: Alex’s older brother last year

Mrs Rodda broke down in tears and was comforted by other family members.

The 30-minute hearing dealt largely with administrative matters ahead of a trial later this year.

Ian Unsworth QC, prosecuting, told the court there would be a number of juvenile witnesses and the estimate for length of trial was up to two weeks.

Judge Steven Everett, Recorder of Chester, remanded the defendant into custody ahead of the trial, scheduled to begin on April 20.

Alex’s mother Lisa last year said: ‘Everybody loved Alex. He was caring and kind. Alex was my beautiful son but he was naive.

In a post on Facebook, his father Adam (pictured last year) said that Alex would 'forever be in our hearts'

In a post on Facebook, his father Adam (pictured last year) said that Alex would 'forever be in our hearts'

In a post on Facebook, his father Adam (pictured last year) said that Alex would ‘forever be in our hearts’

‘He just trusted people when, perhaps, he shouldn’t have done. I am heartbroken.’

In a post on Facebook, his father Adam said that Alex would ‘forever be in our hearts’.

Mr Rodda, who is believed to run a pub in Audlem, Cheshire, wrote: ‘I will never get over losing you son. I love and miss you more than life itself.’

Alex, a pupil at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School in Cheshire, was last seen at 6pm on December 12. 

Mason was also previously a pupil at the school, but was working at an agricultural machinery hire firm.

He and his parents, who have two younger daughters, are believed to attend All Saints Church, in nearby Marthall. 

Dozens of friends posted messages on his Instagram page, describing him as ‘gorgeous boy’ with an ‘infectious smile that lit up a room.’

One said: ‘Heartbroken is an understatement. Words can not describe how we are feeling.’

Another wrote: ‘Never failed to make me laugh rest easy angel.’

Alex’s family, who are also from the Knutsford area, said in a statement released by Cheshire Police on Saturday night: ‘Alex was a very loving, caring, kind, loyal and, most of all, trusting young boy.

‘He loved life and made friends wherever he went. He will be sorely missed.’

Denis Oliver, the headteacher at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, where Alex was a Year 11 Pupil, also paid tribute to the youngster.

In a statement posted to the school’s website, he said: ‘Alex will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him within our close-knit school family.

‘Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers are with Alex’s family and friends at this very sad time.’

Magistrates had earlier agreed with a prosecution request to issue an order preventing the naming of Alex under Section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act.

The court heard that the order was being imposed to ‘protect’ the victim’s family.

But HM Courts and Tribunal Service later said the order had been lifted, following representations by the media.