Father, 37, whose disabled son was hit by a car on motorway is jailedNovember 6, 2023
Drink-driving father, 37, is jailed for ten years for the manslaughter of his autistic son, 12, who was run over and killed as the pair tried to flee crash on the M62 by crossing the motorway
- Callum Rycroft was killed while trying to cross the M62 in West Yorkshire
A drunken father, who crashed his car before leading his 12-year-old son to his death by crossing a busy motorway on foot, has today been jailed for 10 years.
Matthew Rycroft, 37, overturned his car on a motorway slip road and then forced his 12-year-old son Callum, who was autistic and born with spina bifida, to walk beside him for almost three quarters of a mile alongside the M62 in West Yorkshire, Leeds Crown Court was told.
The pair then crossed to the central reservation on foot and Callum was killed by a vehicle when he followed his father across the other carriageway.
Rycroft was so drunk he didn’t even realise his son had been struck and was found by firefighters and police hiding in bushes a short distance away, the court heard.
Passing sentence, the Recorder of Leeds Guy Kearl, KC, told Rycroft his long record of driving offences meant his behaviour that night was ‘predictable and entirely within character’.
Callum Rycroft (pictured) was killed while trying to cross the M62 in West Yorkshire with his father
Matthew Rycroft (pictured) had made his son walk alongside the motorway for three quarters of a mile after crashing the car he was travelling in, a court heard
Rycroft admitted manslaughter, dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen.
He will serve two-thirds of his ten-year jail term behind bars and was banned from driving for nine years and seven months.
READ MORE HERE: Drunken father admits causing death of 12-year-old son who was autistic after he was tragically killed while running across the M62 after their car crashed and overturned
The court hear the feckless father earlier set off in his car with his son after spending several hours drinking at a cricket club in Huddersfield. Prosecutor Michael Smith said Rycroft was clearly unfit to drive and he ignored pleas from his parents on the phone not to drive as he headed home, with the terrified Callum heard ‘crying’ in the background.
Rycroft’s silver Audi was seen swerving around on the motorway before hitting a barrier, overturning and crashing on a service station slip road.
Callum’s mother Claire Bancroft called police after she also phoned her son and was told the boy was being made to ‘run down the motorway.’
Rycroft ordered his son to ‘put the phone down’ when the police operator then phoned the youngster to find their exact location as they headed along the motorway on foot.
The court was shown CCTV footage showing Callum walking on the outside, just a few feet from passing cars, and his father staggering in a drunken state beside him. The pair walked alongside the three-lane motorway for about 15 minutes.
Mr Smith said Callum helped his father when he fell on to the road when they crossed to the central reservation.
Minutes later Rycroft is seen on camera running across the carriageway and reaching the other side but the schoolboy ‘ran into the path of an oncoming vehicle,’ he said.
The tragedy happened in August at around 9.45pm. Ms Bancroft went to the hospital believing her son had escaped injury from his ordeal only to be told he was dead.
Rycroft’s silver Audi was seen swerving around on the motorway before hitting a barrier, overturning and crashing on a service station slip road before the incident
The court heard Callum (pictured) adored his father, followed him everywhere and ‘worshipped the ground he walked on’
Callum’s mother said her son (pictured) was ‘so happy and loved life’ despite his disability and had a bright future ahead of him
The court heard Rycroft had an appalling criminal record. Mr Smith said he had 26 previous convictions for 76 offences. They included numerous repeat offences for driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance.
He suffered an arm injury in an earlier road accident and needed a driving aid to drive safely but had been driving a courtesy car without the equipment at the time of the fatal incident.
The court heard Callum adored his father, followed him everywhere and ‘worshipped the ground he walked on.’
READ MORE HERE – Pictured: Father accused of causing death of his 12-year-old son who was killed in hit-and-run crash as they walked on the M62
Ms Bancroft said Rycroft was ‘someone he trusted the most and should have kept him safe.’
She said in a statement: ‘Matt has torn the family apart, he has hurt a lot of people, but mostly he has let Callum down, all because of his selfishness.’
Despite his disability she said her son was ‘so happy and loved life.’
Yet she believed he had a bright future ahead of him, commenting: ‘Callum like any other child should have had the opportunity to grow up and go to college. He was only 12, he had his whole life ahead of him. I saw a bright future for Callum, I just know he would have achieved anything, and I am certain he would have got a good job, he would have been so good with anything practical.’
After the hearing Detective Chief Superintendent Sarah Jones of West Yorkshire Police said: ‘This is a truly sad case. Matthew Rycroft should have been one of the people who Callum could trust most in the world to keep him safe. Tragically, Matthew ignored the pleas of his family and put himself and his son in danger and it was Callum who paid the ultimate price.
‘Matthew will have to live with what he has done for the rest of his life but, more importantly, so too will everyone else who loved Callum. I hope that the conclusion of this court case helps them as they continue to process their grief and adjust to a life without Callum.’
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