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Drunk father admits manslaughter of disabled son after motorway crash

A father has admitted the manslaughter of his 12-year-old disabled son, killed as he was walking along the motorway after a crash.

Callum Rycroft was hit by a Toyota C-HR between while attempting to cross between junctions 25 and 26 of the M62 on 5 August.

He had previously been travelling inside an Audi Q5 with his drunk father before they were involved in a single vehicle collision.

Appearing at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday, his father Matthew Rycroft, 36, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

The CPS said Callum had no speed awareness due to his disability and “should have been under the protection of his father”.

The court heard that Rycroft had visited his parents in Huddersfield with Callum and had been drinking throughout the day.

They added that Rycroft’s parents urged him not to drive and offered him a place to stay overnight, but he refused and drove away.

“His parents called him and urged him to stop driving, but he paid no heed.”

“Callum was heard in the background saying ‘Dad … won’t stop’. They also tried to follow him, but Rycroft ignored them, and his Audi was seen driving erratically in Huddersfield, before joining the M62 at junction 25.”

Matthew Rycroft pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court (PA)

(PA Archive)

Rycroft was seen swerving across motorway lanes before colliding with a crash barrier as he exited the motorway at Hartshead Moor services.

After failing to negotiate a sharp bend on the slip road, he hit the kerb and overturned the vehicle.

The CPS said: “Rycroft and Callum then began to walk toward the main carriageway.

“Callum called his mother, and dialled 999, but Rycroft told him to end the call. They were seen to cross the motorway to the central reservation, and then for an unknown reason tried to run back.”

Callum was struck by the oncoming Toyota C-HR and died instantly.

The incident took place on the M62 motorway (file photo)


Tom Neofytou from the CPS said: “This is an absolutely tragic incident involving the death of a 12-year-old boy.

“His father’s insistence on driving while under the influence of alcohol is beyond comprehension.

“Rycroft continued to drive despite his parents’ best efforts to stop him. His decision to leave the scene of the crash and attempt to cross the motorway while responsible for a young boy was reckless folly.

“Callum paid the ultimate price for his father’s careless and criminal actions, and the rest of his family are left to mourn his loss. Our deepest sympathies remain with them.”

In a statement, Callum’s mother paid tribute to her “fun and larger than life” son.

“Callum was a beautiful happy soul who was unique, great fun and larger than life. He brought light, laughter and noise into any room,” she said.

“Callum had a massive impact on everyone who met him. The house is so quiet without him here.

“We are devastated at what has happened and request that people respect our wish for privacy at this difficult time. We are very grateful for the support and kind comments we have received.”

Rycroft, of Nowell View, Leeds, was remanded into custody until his sentencing, which will take place no earlier than September 19.

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