Tony Hudgell’s adoptive mother, who was severely tortured by her father and had both legs amputated, said she was “very grateful” for his early release from prison.
Anthony Smith, 47, and Jody Simpson, 24, were sentenced to ten years in prison in 2018 for abusing their son in 2014.
Tony, now 7, was just 41 days old when he suffered lifelong injuries including broken fingers and toes and torn ligaments.
He contracted sepsis, which meant his legs had to be amputated down to his knees, and he now walks on prosthetics.
Attorney General Dominic Raab this week used Tony’s Law (named and inspired by the young man) to block Anthony Smith’s release from prison.
Tony Hudgell’s adoptive mother Paula Hudgell, who lost her legs after being abused by her biological father, expresses relief that he will remain in custody
Anthony Smith (left) and Jody Simpson (right) were both found guilty of assaulting Tony when he was 41 days old.They were sentenced to ten years in prison but will be released after serving five years
Tony’s adoptive mother Paula Hagel successfully campaigned for Tony’s law to increase the sentences for those convicted of causing “serious harm” to a child from 10 to 14.
Under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, the age of causing the death of a child will be raised from 14 to life.
Paula, 54, from Kent, said she was “ecstatic” that Tony’s biological father would remain behind bars.
Tony contracted sepsis which meant his legs had to be amputated and he now walks on prosthetics
Tony, now 7, was only 41 days old when he suffered lifelong injuries including broken fingers and toes and torn ligaments
She said: “Once again, we are very grateful to Dominic Raab for intervening in Anthony Smith’s release.
“This shows the importance of why Tony’s Law needs to go into effect, because the judgment is definitely too lax.
“It also underscores the absolute need for a child abuse register.”
She said earlier this month that the sentence did not reflect the severity of the abuse Tony suffered.
Raab also blocked the release of Tony’s mother, Jody Simpson, two weeks ago.
The 7-year-old was awarded the Pride of England award for raising £1.7m for Evelina London Children’s Hospital
Paula Hajjer: “Once again we are very grateful to Dominic Raab for intervening in Anthony Smith’s release”
Mr Raab said: “The government’s first duty is to protect the most vulnerable – no one is more vulnerable than a child. I will do everything in my power to prevent another child from being abused by Tony Hagel.
“That is why I am suspending Anthony Smith’s release and will refer his case to the Parole Board for a thorough examination of any risk he may pose.”
The NHS saved Tony’s life after 23 surgeries and eight blood transfusions after he was admitted to hospital near death.
The seven-year-old received the Pride of Britain award for raising £1.7 million for Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
Ms Hudgell has previously said the prospect of offenders being released early was “disgusting” and “like a blow to the stomach”.
Tony Act: Amendment to Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to introduce harsher sentences for child abuse
The Tony Act is an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, voted by the Minister on 30 November 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, the maximum sentence at the time.
The amendment increases the maximum penalty for causing or permitting grievous bodily harm to a child from 10 to 14 years, and the maximum penalty for causing death of a child from 14 to life.
The tougher planned sentences could mean anyone who causes or allows the death of a child or vulnerable adult in their care will face a maximum life sentence instead of the current maximum of 14 years.