'Cold and calculating' teenager Matthew Mason has been found guilty of murdering his 15-year-old schoolboy lover Alex Rodda, whose body was found in secluded woods.

The 19-year-old had denied murder at Chester Crown Court but he accepted his actions had caused the death of Alex.

Jurors heard that Mason, of Knutsford, had been having underage sex with 15-year-old Alex in the months prior to his death.

Mason killed him to prevent their affair being exposed, Manchester Evening News reported.

Mason had paid Alex, who lived in Pickmere, near Knutsford, more than £2,000 over a three week period, in an attempt to stop his secret coming out.

Matthew Mason, 15, was found guilty of murder

On December 12, 2019, Mason picked up Alex from outside his house and drove him to a secluded woodland, prosecutor Ian Unsworth QC told jurors.

It was there that the popular schoolboy was beaten to death with a large metal wrench, in a vicious attack described by a pathologist as a “violent, repetitive assault with a blunt weapon”.

After murdering his lover, Mason stayed with the body for an hour before leaving heading to a friend’s outhouse to clean himself up.

As the verdict was read out, Mason burst into tears in the courtroom.

Alex's grieving family cried out and embraced, the MEN reported.

Alex's body was found by refuse collectors the following morning

Speaking after the verdict, the victim's 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.

"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."

After cleaning himself up, Mason he went to two different pubs where he was seen on CCTV having a pint with friends.

During this he sent a Snapchat selfie to his group of friends of him smiling, which was shown in court.

At around 2am on December 13, Mason drove back to the spot and attempted to move Alex’s body. After dragging the corpse only 20m, he gave up and drove home.

Alex's semi-naked body was found by refuse workers hours later. He had suffered several blows to his head and body.

Mason, an apprentice mechanic and member of the Young Farmers Club, claimed that Alex had been blackmailing, but admitted having struck the fatal blows.

He claimed to have acted in self-defence, and then experienced a fateful ‘loss of control’ in a confrontation where he had brandished the spanner to show Alex he was serious about wanting the alleged demands for money to stop.

However following a police investigation in which he repeatedly lied, and a month-long trial at Chester Crown Court, jurors rejected Mason’s claims of innocence to murder, and unanimously found him guilty.

He faces being detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure - the youth equivalent of life.