Police, Fire & Court

Knutsford man accused of murdering 15-year-old Alex Rodda appears in crown court for the first time

By David Prior at

The teenager accused of murdering Alex Rodda, the 15-year-old whose body was found in Ashley last week, has appeared in crown court for the first time.

Matthew Mason, 18, of Ash Lane in Ollerton near Knutsford, appeared at Chester Crown Court this morning via video link from HMP Altcourse in Merseyside.

He is charged with the murder of Alex, a pupil at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, as well as possession of a bladed article in a public place.

Alex’s partially stripped body was found on Ashley Mill Lane on Friday morning on the border between Hale and Ashley.

Alex Rodda was a pupil at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School

During today’s hearing in Chester, Mason – who was dressed in a dark grey jumper – spoke only to confirm his name, age and nationality.

Kay Driver, defending, made no bail application and Mason was remanded in custody for a plea hearing on February 21st next year. A trial date was set for April 20th.

On Monday, Mason had appeared at an earlier hearing at South Cheshire Magistrates’ Court in Crewe.

Matthew Mason, 18, has been charged with Alex’s murder

Families of both the victim and the accused were sat in the public gallery.

Judge Steven Everett, the Honorary Recorder of Chester, praised both families for their conduct in court, adding: “This is understandably a highly emotional case.”

On Saturday, Alex’s family paid tribute to a “very loving, caring, kind, loyal and, most of all, trusting young boy”.

Flowers left close to the scene on Ashley Mill Lane

Alex’s body was found close to Ryecroft Farm on Ashley Mill Lane

They added: “He loved life and made friends wherever he went. He will be sorely missed.”

Alex’s headmaster at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, Denis Oliver, said the teenager “will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him within our close-knit school family”.

He added: “Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers are with Alex’s family and friends at this very sad time.”