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Dad pleads guilty to the manslaughter of his son after driving drunk on M62 and crashing his car

|News, Driving offences

A father has pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court today to the manslaughter of his disabled young son.

12-year-old Callum Rycroft was killed on 5 August 2023, when a car struck him as he attempted to cross the M62 with his father, Matthew Rycroft. Callum, due to his disability, had no speed awareness and should have been under his father’s protection.

Rycroft (36) had visited his parents in Huddersfield with his son Callum and had been drinking throughout the day. His parents urged him not to drive and offered him a place to stay overnight, but Rycroft 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.

Witnesses report seeing Rycroft swerve across lanes on the motorway before colliding with a crash barrier. Rycroft then managed to exit the motorway at Hartshead services, where he failed to negotiate a sharp bend on the slip road, before hitting the kerb and overturning the car.

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 an oncoming vehicle and died instantly.

Rycroft also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and failing to supply a specimen of blood.

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 whilst 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 whilst 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.”

Rycroft will be sentenced at a later date.

Notes to editors

  • Matthew Daniel Rycroft (DOB:27/9/86) pleaded guilty to 1x count of manslaughter, 1x count of dangerous driving, and 1x count of failing to provide a specimen for analysis.
  • Tom Neofytou is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS Yorkshire and Humberside.

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