Parents who tortured Tony Hudgell so badly as a baby that he lost both legs will be FREED from jail after serving just half of their ten-year sentences
- Tony Hudgell, now seven, was only 41-days-old when he was attacked
- Jody Simpson, 24, and Anthony Smith, 47, were sentenced to ten years in prison
- Tony’s adoptive mother Paula Hudgell said their early release is ‘sickening’
- Mrs Hudgell has previously campaigned for tougher sentences for child abusers
The parents who tortured their baby so severely he lost both his legs are set to be released in a matter of days after serving only half of their prison sentence.
Tony Hudgell’s birth parents, Jody Simpson, 24, and Anthony Smith, 47, were sentenced to ten years in prison in February 2018.
But the pair have served only five years are are now set to be free in days, with Simpson due to be released next week, and Smith at the end of August.
Tony, now seven, suffered from broken fingers and toes, torn ligaments and contracted sepsis after his birth parents left him to suffer for ten days before taking him to hospital.
The boy’s adoptive mother, Paula Hudgell, 54, who has spent years campaigning for tougher punishments for child abusers, described the news as ‘sickening’ and said it feels ‘like a blow to the stomach’.
Tony Hudgell (pictured), who was abused so severely by his birth parents that both of his legs needed to be amputated, is ‘angry’ that his birth parents will soon be free
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 will soon be released after serving only five
The infant was on the verge of death when medics first saw him, and due to the extreme level of abuse he suffered, both of his legs needed to be amputated.
She said: ‘These monsters have spent just five years behind bars while Tony faces a lifetime of challenges as a result of their wickedness.
‘There is absolutely nothing I can do about it as their release is automatic
‘They don’t go before the parole board or have to show any remorse to walk free.
‘But even though I have always known this day would come, it doesn’t make it any easier.
‘The fact Simpson is being freed just a few days after the anniversary of the truly horrific death of little Peter Connelly in August 2007 makes it even more difficult to bare.
‘It’s like a blow to the stomach and makes me feel sick knowing those who abuse babies and children are walking free in a few years.
‘These monsters could be living in your street and you wouldn’t have a clue.’
Simpson and Smith get automatically released halfway through their sentences, which at the time was the harshest sentence they could receive, less time they spent on remand.
According to Mrs Hudgell, Tony is ‘angry’ that they will soon be free and wants to join the police force when he is older to re-arrest them.
She said: ‘Tony obviously knows they did bad things to him and went to prison so was cross when I told him they wouldn’t be in jail for much longer.
‘He has previously said he wants to be a policeman when he is older but told me “I have to join now so I can re-arrest them”.
‘It’s ironic too that, having won Prime Minister’s Points of Light award during lockdown in 2020, Tony has been invited to a reception on August 9 – a date on which Simpson could walk out of jail.’
Tony, who was only a baby when the attack happened (pictured), suffered from broken bones, torn ligaments and sepsis before medics made the choice to amputate his severely injured legs
Paula Hudgell (pictured with Tony) campaigned for Tony’s law, which is named after her adoptive son. The law increased the sentences that child abusers receive
Because Paula and 57-year-old husband Mark’s adoption of Tony was open and went ahead before Simpson and Smith, from Whitstable, Kent, were charged with any offences, the couple were unable to keep their address private or even change his first name.
But the Hudgells have been told that conditions believed to include not to contact the family and excluding them from Kent will be attached to their release.
Simpson and Smith were only prosecuted after Mrs Hudgell and MP Tom Tugendhat campaigned.
Mrs 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.
Those found guilty of causing a child’s death also now receive 14 years to life in prison.
The seven-year-old has won a Pride of Britain award for raising £1.7million for the hospital which started treating him when he was just 41-days-old.
The Mail Online have approached the Ministry of Justice for comment.
Tony’s Law: an amendment to Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that introduced tougher sentences for child cruelty
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.