In an incident on the M62 in August, a father from Nowell View, Leeds, named Matthew Rycroft, aged 37, has been sentenced to ten years in prison for the manslaughter of his son, 12-year-old Callum Rycroft. This verdict was reached at Leeds Crown Court, where Rycroft had previously pleaded guilty. He also confessed to charges of dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen for analysis. Additionally, he has been banned from driving for nine years and seven months.

The court heard that on Saturday, 5th August, Matthew Rycroft had consumed alcohol throughout the day in Huddersfield before departing with Callum in his Audi Q5 to head back home. Around 9.30pm, he was involved in a single-vehicle collision on the westbound exit slip road to Hartshead Moor Services on the M62. Both Matthew and Callum left the vehicle and walked through the services onto the eastbound side of the M62.

West Yorkshire Police received a report at 9.45pm about two individuals walking on the live lane of the motorway. Shortly thereafter, Callum was struck by a Toyota C-HR. He succumbed to his injuries at the scene. It later emerged that Callum had called his mother and 999, but Matthew instructed him to end the call. Matthew’s parents had also contacted him, imploring him to stop driving.

Detective Chief Superintendent Sarah Jones, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “This is a truly sad case. Matthew Rycroft should have been one of the people who Callum could trust most in the world to keep him safe. Tragically, Matthew ignored the pleas of his family and put himself and his son in danger and it was Callum who paid the ultimate price.

“Matthew will have to live with what he has done for the rest of his life but, more importantly, so too will everyone else who loved Callum. I hope that the conclusion of this court case helps them as they continue to process their grief and adjust to a life without Callum.”

In a victim personal statement submitted to the court, Callum’s mother Claire Bancroft describes the special bond they shared and the unique character of Callum, who was born with spina bifida and diagnosed with autism at the age of four.

Excerpts from the victim personal statement include:

“Callum like any other child should have had the opportunity to grow up and go to college. He was only 12, he had his whole life ahead of him. 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.”

In a further tribute to her son, she said: “Our family are devastated at the loss of Callum. He had such a big presence; we miss everything about him. He was so happy and he loved life. He was loved by everyone and we will miss him forever, he will never be forgotten.”

The Major Collision Enquiry Team is currently conducting a linked investigation. The driver of the Toyota C-HR, a 47-year-old man, remains on bail while the inquiry continues.