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Driver who hit autistic schoolboy, 12, on the M62 says he ‘couldn’t stop on the motorway’

Callum Rycroft was hit by Shahid Ilyas’s Toyota C-HR while crossing the motorway with his drunk father

Holly Evans
Tuesday 27 February 2024 15:20 GMT
Callum Rycroft died after being hit by a car on the M62 near Huddersfield
Callum Rycroft died after being hit by a car on the M62 near Huddersfield (PA)

A man charged with dangerous driving after a 12-year-old autistic boy was killed crossing the M62 says he “couldn’t stop on the motorway”, a court has heard.

Callum Rycroft was killed on 5 August when his father, who had been drink-driving, crashed his car into a service station and told him to walk along the motorway.

The schoolboy suffered fatal injuries after he was hit by a Toyota driven by Shahid Ilyas, who struck the youngster as he was crossing from the central reservation.

Callum’s father Matthew Rycroft, 37, was jailed for 10 years in November for the manslaughter of his son, while 48-year-old Ilyas was charged with dangerous driving.

At Bradford Crown Court on Tuesday, Ilyas pleaded not guilty and also denied charges of failing to stop after a road accident and failing to report that accident.

Harry Crowson, defending Ilyas, told the court: “He says he couldn’t stop on the motorway. He stopped at the first place that seemed safe to him.”

Callum had no speed awareness due to his disability (PA Media)

Last year, a court heard that Callum’s father had been drinking for several hours in Huddersfield before getting into his Audi Q5 with his son, despite being unsteady on his feet and slurring his words.

He was seen half an hour later swerving across lanes on the motorway before hitting a crash barrier. While attempting to take the exit to Hartshead Moor Services, he clipped a kerb and flipped the car on its side.

Matthew Rycroft was sentenced to 10 years in prison (PA)

Callum, who had no speed awareness due to his disability, phoned his mother to tell her that his father had told him to “run down the motorway”.

After walking for 15 minutes with cars passing them at 70mph, the pair crossed to the central reservation before attempting to cross back, with Callum then hit by Ilyas’s Toyota C-HR.

He died at the scene, while his father was found hiding in nearby bushes by fire crews.

Ilyas will now return for trial on 10 October at Bradford Crown Court.

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