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Father sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter of his autistic son who died fleeing motorway crash

By Tom Gibson | November 7, 2023


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Horrifying incident happened on the M62 after the father had been drink-driving.

Father sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter of his autistic son who died fleeing motorway crash

12 year-old Callum Rycroft lost his life when his father, Matthew Rycroft, crashed on a busy stretch of the M62 near Huddersfield after drink driving.

Callum then followed Matthew down the motorway for around a mile as his father attempted to flee the scene.

They then crossed the central reservation and carried onto the other side of the motorway when Matthew slipped and was helped up by his son. They were able to progress as far as the hard shoulder when Callum was hit by a vehicle – his waste of space father not even looking back.

Matthew Rycroft was then found hiding in a bush by police 400 yards further along from where his son lost his life.

In a victim impact statement read out in court Callum’s mum, Ms Bancroft, said: "Callum was with Matt - someone he trusted the most. Someone who should have kept him safe and brought him home.

"Callum died as a result of Matt's actions - something I can't forgive him for."

Ms Bancroft said Callum was born with spina bifida and diagnosed with autism at the age of four. She added: "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.

"What makes matters worse, if that could be possible, is that my children have lost their dad as well as their brother and they know Callum is not here because of their dad. 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."

Matthew Rycroft had been to visit his parents in Huddersfield with Callum and cut the grass at the local cricket club where he began to drink and socialise in the clubhouse.

CCTV footage caught Matthew being unsteady on his feet and the 37 year-old turned down a request from his parents to not get in the car and stay at their house overnight while he recovered.His parents also called him to stop and could hear Callum crying saying his dad wouldn't pull over.

Rycroft appeared on a video link from prison and was seen crying as he sat with his head bowed.

While handing down a sentence of 10 years, Judge Guy Kearl KC, the Recorder of Leeds, said: "Not content with placing yourself, Callum and other road users in danger by the standard of your driving, you attempted to escape the scene by running away.

"You deliberately placed Callum in a situation where his chances of another safe crossing were slim at best."

If ever you need a reminder – please don’t drink and drive. 

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