A TEENAGER has denied the murder of 15-year-old Knutsford schoolboy, Alex Rodda.

Matthew Mason, 19, appeared via videolink from prison today to enter a not guilty plea at Chester Crown Court to the murder of the Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School pupil on December 12 last year.

The youngster's body was found outside Ashley Mill Lane in Ashley.

Mason, from Ollerton, appeared on the link from HMP Altcourse, Liverpool. He spoke only to confirm his name and enter his not guilty plea.

Alex Rodda's parents sat in court, his mother Lisa in tears and comforted by other family members. Across the courtroom the parents of the defendant sat also watching proceedings.

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

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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.