The full horror of how a disabled 12-year-old boy came to be killed as he ran across a motorway was revealed today as his father admitted manslaughter.
Schoolboy Callum Rycroft was being driven home from his grandparents’ house by his father Matthew Rycroft, who had spent the day drinking, when their car crashed and overturned on a motorway slip road.
He had ignored pleas on the phone from his parents
During the journey Rycroft, 36, had ignored pleas on the phone from his parents and his frightened son in the car to stop driving.
After the accident the youngster then called his mother and dialled 999 as they walked towards the main M62 carriageway.
Rycroft told his son to end the call and they crossed on foot to the central reservation before trying to run back again, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) revealed.
Tragically Callum, who is autistic and ‘had no speed awareness’, died after being struck by an oncoming car that didn’t stop.
Rycroft appeared before Leeds Crown Court today via video link from prison.
During a short hearing he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his son Callum, dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen at Leeds General Infirmary.
Sentencing was adjourned to a later date.
The tragedy happened on the evening of Saturday, August 5.
Why you shouldn’t drink and drive
After the hearing the CPS revealed how Rycroft visited his parents in Huddersfield with Callum that day and was ‘drinking throughout the day’.
The CPS statement said: ‘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, near Huddersfield, where he failed to negotiate a sharp bend on the slip road, before hitting the kerb and overturning the car.
Instead of heading to the sanctuary of the service station, the father and son began walking towards the busy M62 motorway.
‘Callum called his mother, and dialled 999, but Rycroft told him to end the call,’ the CPS statement said.
‘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.’
The hit and death of the young child
The boy was hit by a Toyota car that didn’t stop. A 47-year-old man from Bolton was later arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and released on bail pending further inquiries.
The CPS said Callum suffered from a disability and should have been under his father’s protection.
Rycroft, of Nowell View, Leeds, also has a physical disability not connected with the accident. He has a disability to his right arm, is of very slight build and walks in a hunched or bent over manner.
Tom Neofytou from the CPS said outside court: ‘This is an absolutely tragic incident involving the death of a 12-year-old boy.
‘His father’s insistence on driving while 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 while responsible for a young boy was reckless folly.’