Drunk father admits manslaughter of disabled son after motorway crash

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

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

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

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

The CPS said Callum was not aware of the speed due to his disability and “should have been under the protection of his father”.

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

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

“His parents called him and urged him to stop driving, but he didn't pay attention,” said Tom Neophytou of the Crown Prosecution Service.

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

Matthew Rycroft pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court (PA)

(PA file)

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

After failing to negotiate a sharp bend in the slippery road, he hit the curb and overturned the vehicle.

The CPS said: “Rycroft and Callum then started walking towards the main road.

“Callum rang his mother and dialed 999 but Rycroft told him to end the call. They were seen crossing the highway towards central detention and then for an unknown reason tried to run back.”

Calum was hit by the oncoming Toyota C-HR and died instantly.

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


“This is an absolutely tragic incident involving the death of a 12-year-old boy,” added Mr. Neophytou.

“His father's insistence on drink driving is beyond comprehension.

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

“Callum has 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 condolences 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 to any room,” she said.

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

“We are devastated by what has happened and ask that people respect our desire 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 in custody until sentencing, which will take place on September 19 at the earliest.