In a tragic incident on a motorway, the reckless actions of a father have shattered a family, as expressed by the devastated mother of their late son. Twelve-year-old Callum Rycroft was fatally struck by a car on the M62 while trying to follow his father, Matthew Rycroft, across the highway, a figure of trust for the young boy.
The Leeds Crown Court was informed that Matthew, 37, had been under the influence of alcohol when he crashed his Audi Q5 on the evening of August 5, near Huddersfield. Despite the collision, Rycroft and his son, who was in the passenger seat, attempted to leave the scene, making their way along the M62’s edge, as caught on CCTV.
During their perilous walk on the motorway, the intoxicated Rycroft stumbled and was assisted by his son Callum. Shortly after, in a disastrous attempt to cross the road, Callum was hit by an oncoming car. Matthew Rycroft reached the other side, continuing on without returning for his son, and was later discovered by police hiding nearby.
Rycroft has since been sentenced to a decade in prison after admitting to manslaughter, dangerous driving, and refusing to provide a specimen for testing. The prosecution highlighted that due to his autism, Callum lacked the ability to judge the speed of oncoming traffic, told BBC.
Claire Bancroft, Callum’s mother, now estranged from Rycroft due to the tragedy, lamented that her son had followed his father, someone he immensely trusted and adored. She shared her grief and the irreversible impact of Matthew Rycroft’s “selfishness” on the family, explaining how it not only led to the loss of Callum but also affected the siblings, who are now without a brother and effectively without a father.
In court, Rycroft’s lawyer acknowledged the deep bond between Matthew and Callum but emphasized the lifelong burden of guilt that Rycroft must now carry. Throughout the sentencing, an evidently remorseful Rycroft, present via video link, was seen weeping.
The judge, Guy Kearl KC, sternly addressed Rycroft’s egregious decision-making that night, emphasizing the dangers he posed not only to himself and his son but also to other motorists. The judge underscored the severe lack of judgment Rycroft exhibited by exposing his son to such risk, considering Callum’s young age and vulnerabilities.