The adoptive mother of Tony Hudgell, who was so badly tortured by his father that he had both legs amputated, said she is ‘extremely grateful’ that his early release from jail has been blocked.
Anthony Smith, 47, and Jody Simpson, 24, abused their son in 2014 – and in 2018 were sentenced to ten years in prison.
Tony, now seven, was just 41 days old when he suffered life-long injuries, including broken fingers and toes and torn ligaments.
He contracted sepsis, meaning his legs had to be amputated up to his knees and he now uses prosthetics to walk.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab used Tony’s Law – inspired and named after the youngster – to block Anthony Smith’s release from jail this week.
Paula Hudgell, the adoptive mother of Tony Hudgell (pictured together) who lost his legs after abuse from his biological father, has expressed her relief that he will remain behind bars
Anthony Smith (left) and Jody Simpson (right) were both found guilty of attacking Tony when he was just 41-days-old. They were sentenced to ten years in prison but were set to be released after only serving five
Tony’s adoptive mother, Paula Hudgell, successfully campaigned for Tony’s law in order to increase sentences for those found guilty causing ‘serious harm’ to a child from ten to 14 years.
Causing the death of a child will rise from 14 years to life under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.
Paula, 54, from Kent, said she is ‘over the moon’ that Tony’s biological father will stay in prison.
Tony contracted sepsis, meaning his legs had to be amputated up to his knees and he now uses prosthetics to walk
Tony, now seven, was just 41 days old when he suffered life-long injuries, including broken fingers and toes and torn ligaments
She said: ‘Once again we are extremely grateful that Dominic Raab has stepped in on Anthony Smith’s release.
‘It shows the importance of why Tony’s Law needed to come into force as sentences absolutely were too lenient.
‘It also still highlights the absolute need for a child cruelty register.’
She said earlier this month that the sentence does not reflect the severity of the abuse Tony received.
Raab also blocked the release of Tony’s mother, Jody Simpson, two weeks ago.
The seven year old has won a Pride of Britain award for raising £1.7million for the Evelina London Children’s Hospital hospital
Paula Hudgell said: ‘Once again we are extremely grateful that Dominic Raab has stepped in on Anthony Smith’s release’
Mr Raab said: ‘The first duty of government is to protect the most vulnerable – and no-one is more vulnerable than a child. I will do everything in my power to prevent another child enduring the abuse inflicted on Tony Hudgell.
‘That’s why I’ve put Anthony Smith’s release on hold and will be referring his case to the Parole Board so that any risk he might pose is thoroughly checked.’
The NHS saved Tony’s life after 23 operations and eight blood transfusions, after he was on the verge of death when admitted to hospital.
The seven year old has won a Pride of Britain award for raising £1.7million for the Evelina London Children’s Hospital hospital.
Ms Hudgell previously said the prospect of the criminals’ early release was ‘sickening’ and ‘like a blow to the stomach’.
Tony’s Law is an amendment to Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that was voted by ministers on November 30 2021.
It is named after Tony Hudgell, who was abused by his parents as an infant and suffered life-changing injuries.
His parents, Tony Smith and Jody Simpson, were both jailed for ten years, which was the maximum sentence at the time.
The amendment will increase the maximum penalty for causing or allowing serious physical harm to a child from ten to 14 years, while causing the death of a child will rise from 14 years to life.
The tougher planned sentences could mean that anyone who causes or allows the death of a child or vulnerable adult in their care will face up to life imprisonment, rather than the current 14-year maximum.