A teenager who beat his schoolboy lover to death with a spanner has told a court he did not think his friends would accept him if he was gay.
Young Farmer Matthew Mason, aged 19, admits killing Alex Rodda, 15, in woodland in Cheshire on December 12 last year but denies murder.
A trial at Chester Crown Court has heard Mason paid the Holmes Chapel High School pupil – whose dad runs the Bridge Inn pub in Audlem – more than £2,000 to stop him revealing their sexual relationship.
Giving evidence, Mason, who lived on a farm near Knutsford with his family, said he asked friends for money to pay Alex but did not tell them what it was for.
He said: “I was embarrassed and I was worried they wouldn’t give me the money and that would be the end of my friendship with them, because they would not accept me for what happened.”
Asked by Ian Unsworth QC, prosecuting, what he meant, he said: “Because of what me and Alex had done together, like if I was to speak to someone about it they wouldn’t understand why it had happened and they wouldn’t accept me if I was gay or bisexual.”
The agricultural engineering student admitted having sex with Alex but said he thought it was wrong.
Asked how it was wrong, Mason said: “For one, because he was a male and, secondly, his age.”
He told the jury he thought Alex was “being a bit of a bully” when he asked for money to stop him revealing their relationship, but said he did not hate him.
The court heard Mason had searched the internet for phrases including “what would happen if you kicked someone down the stairs” and “everyday poison”.
He said he was looking for ways to kill himself as he felt depressed and suicidal after his girlfriend broke up with him when Alex messaged her and told her Mason had sent him an explicit photo and video.
He said: “I started having these feelings a week or so after me and Caitlyn split up and Alex was asking me for money.”
Mason, of Ash Lane, Ollerton, said in the weeks leading up to Alex’s death he continued to go to work at a plant hire firm, to attend lessons at Reaseheath College and was active socially in the Young Farmers’ Club, including in rehearsals for a Christmas play.
He accepted he hit Alex at least 15 times on the head with the spanner after driving to remote woodland in Ashley on December 12.
During cross examination, Mr Mason said he remembered hitting Alex twice, but accepted he may have hit him 15 times.
Asked why he did this, by the prosecutor, he said: “Because I remember feeling a range of emotions at the time towards Alex.”
Mr Mason accepted the force of his blows caused Alex’s skull to fracture. He accepted some of those fragments penetrated Alex’s brain.
He accepted he ‘left Alex to die’ and accepted he did nothing to help him.
Mr Mason told the jury he went to the pub after the attack because ‘[he] was still in shock and [it was] something to try and get the normality back in [his] life’.
He said when he drove away from the scene he stopped and saw Alex’s phone on the passenger seat, so he threw it out of the car.
Asked by Mr Unsworth if he had thought he could “lie his way” through the trial, he said: “Yes, I did think that to start off with.”
He added: “The truth would eventually come out anyway, even if I tried to cover myself.”
The trial is expected to last until early January.