Father admits manslaughter over death of Callum Rycroft on M62

Callum Rycroft M62 crash
Callum Rycroft died after being hit by a car on the M62.

The father of a 12-year-old disabled boy who died after being hit by a car on the M62 has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Callum Rycroft, from Leeds, was walking on the eastbound carriageway of the motorway, between junctions 25 and 26 near Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, after the car he was travelling in with his father crashed at about 9.50pm on Saturday, 5 August.

Callum suffered fatal injuries after he was knocked down by a car which then left the scene.

Matthew Rycroft, 36, of Nowell View, Leeds, pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday.

He also admitted dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen.

The Crown Prosecution Service said Rycroft had been drinking throughout the day after visiting his parents in Huddersfield.

Rycroft’s parents had urged him not to drive and offered him a place to stay overnight, but he refused and drove away.

Callum Rycroft was described as a 'beautiful, happy soul'. Credit: Family handout

"His parents called him and urged him to stop driving, but he paid no heed," the CPS said.

"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 reported seeing Rycroft swerve across lanes on the motorway before colliding with a crash barrier, the CPS said.

Rycroft managed to exit the motorway at Hartshead Moor services, where he failed to negotiate a sharp bend on the slip road before hitting the kerb and overturning the vehicle.

The CPS said: "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, who the CPS said had no speed awareness due to his disability, was struck by an oncoming vehicle and died instantly.

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 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.

"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."

Judge Rodney Jameson remanded Rycroft in custody until his sentencing, which he said would be no earlier than 19 September.

He was remanded in custody after the hearing.

A 47-year-old man from Bolton, who was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, remains on bail pending further inquiries.

In a statement after his death, Callum's mother said he was a "beautiful, happy soul who was unique, great fun and larger than life".

“Callum had a massive impact on everyone who met him," she said. "The house is so quiet without him here. 

“We are devastated at what has happened."

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