A father has been jailed for 10 years for the manslaughter of his son in an incident on the M62 in August.
Matthew Rycroft, 37, of Nowell View, Leeds, appeared at Leeds Crown Court for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to the manslaughter of 12-year-old Callum Rycroft. He also admitted offences of dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen for analysis.
In addition to the custodial sentence he has also been disqualified from driving for nine years and seven months.
The court was told how on Saturday, 5 August, Matthew Rycroft had been drinking alcohol throughout the day in Huddersfield before leaving in his Audi Q5 with Callum to return home.
At around 9.30pm he was involved in a single vehicle collision on the M62 westbound exit slip road to Hartshead Moor Services. Matthew and Callum left the vehicle, walking through the services and onto the M62 eastbound.
West Yorkshire Police received a report at 9.45pm of two people walking in the live lane of the motorway and minutes later, Callum was involved in a collision with a Toyota C-HR. He died at the scene.
It later transpired that Callum had phoned his mother and 999 but was told to end the call by Matthew. Matthew’s parents had also phoned him and urged 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.”
A linked investigation by the Major Collision Enquiry Team remains ongoing. The driver of the Toyota C-HR, a 47-year-old man, remains on bail while enquiries continue.