Matthew Rycroft: Drink-driving dad admits manslaughter of disabled son hit by car crossing M62

A man has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his disabled son who was killed in a collision while trying to cross the M62.

Matthew Rycroft was driving drunk on the motorway before crashing his car on a slippery road with his son Callum Rycroft also in the vehicle, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Callum, 12, was hit by a car while trying to cross junctions 25 and 26 of the M62 at around 9.50pm on August 5.

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

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

Tom Neophytou, CPS

On Tuesday, Callum's father Matthew Rycroft, 36, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen.

Appearing via video link from prison at Leeds Crown Court, Rycroft, of Nowell View, Leeds, admitted driving an Audi Q5 dangerously on the day of the crash between Paddock Cricket Club, Huddersfield and Hartshead Moor services.

He also pleaded guilty to failing to provide a sample, which the court had previously heard was in Leeds General Infirmary the following day.

Rycroft had been visiting his parents in Huddersfield with Calum and had been drinking all day, a CPS spokesman said.

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,” CPS said.

“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.”

Witnesses reported seeing Rycroft swerve from lanes on the freeway before crashing into a crash barrier, CPS said.

Rycroft managed to exit the motorway at Hartshead Moor services where he failed to negotiate a sharp bend in the slippery road before hitting the curb and overturning 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.”

Callum was hit by an oncoming vehicle and died instantly.

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

“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.”

Judge Rodney Jameson remanded Rycroft in custody until sentencing, which he said would not be before September 19.

The judge told the defendant: “I can't, I'm afraid, tell you the exact date the court will sentence because a decision has to be made as to whether it should be tried by a high court judge.”