Father admits manslaughter of disabled 12-year-old son from Leeds who died crossing the M62

The Crown Prosecution Service said Callum Rycroft “should have been under the protection of his father” when he died.

A father whose disabled son was tragically killed as he tried to cross the M62 motorway in the aftermath of a crash has admitted to manslaughter.

Callum Rycroft, from Leeds, was described by his family in a devastating tribute paid earlier last month as a being a “beautiful happy soul” who was known for bringing “light, laughter, and noise into any room”.

But the 12-year-old tragically lost his life in a hit-and-run incident on the M62.

Callum was a passenger in his father, Matthew Rycroft’s, Audi Q5 on the day he died on 5 August 2023, with the 36-year-old having been drinking with family throughout the day, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), before driving off and subsequently crashing the vehicle off an M62 slip exit road for the Hartshead Moor Services in West Yorkshire.

Rycroft managed to exit the motorway, but failed to negotiate a sharp bend on the slip road before hitting the kerb and overturning the vehicle, the CPS said.

Courts heard this week that, Matthew and Callum – who was said to have had no speed awareness due to his disability – then attempted to cross the motorway carriageway moments later, in what prosecutors described as “reckless folly”.

Callum was then struck by an oncoming vehicle, and was confirmed to have died instantly at the scene.

Yesterday, Matthew Rycroft pleaded guilty to manslaughter of his son, as well as dangerous driving, and for failing to provide a specimen.

According to the CPS, Rycroft’s parents had urged him not to drive home from their residence in Huddersfield, where he and Callum had been visiting, and had offered the pair a place to stay overnight, but the father “paid no heed”, before refusing and driving away.

“Callum was heard in the background saying ‘Dad… won’t stop’,” the CPS said.

“[Rycroft’s] parents 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.”

Father admits manslaughter of disabled 12-year-old son who died trying to cross M62 / Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As Rycroft appeared via a video link from prison to Leeds Crown Court yesterday – where he entered his guilty pleas – the CPS continued in its account: “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.”

Ultimately, Tom Neofytou from the CPS said Callum “should have been under the protection of his father”, and described it as an “absolutely tragic incident”.

Matthew Rycroft is to be sentenced no earlier than 19 September.

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Featured Image – West Yorkshire Police

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