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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Katie Weston

Dad who beat baby so badly he needed both legs amputated storms out of victim statement

A cowardly dad who abused his baby son so badly that he had both legs amputated will stay behind bars after his parole was refused.

Tony Smith, 52, is serving a 10-year prison sentence for swinging his infant son by his ankles, causing horrific fractures that led him to lose both legs.

Little Tony Hudgell was just 41 days old when he suffered eight fractures to his legs and then developed life-threatening septicaemia in 2014.

Smith, originally from Maidstone, Kent, was convicted in February 2018 along with biological mother, Jody Simpson, 30, who were both handed 10-year jail terms.

Yesterday, the Parole Board that considered his application for release decided he should stay in jail as there was a risk he could start a new relationship and have access to other children.

Tony's adoptive mum, Paula Hudgell, has now told how Smith refused to listen to a victim statement and stormed out of court during the parole hearing.

Tony Smith, 52, is serving a 10-year prison sentence (Kent Police)
Smith was convicted in February 2018 along with biological mother, Jody Simpson, 30 (Kent Police)

Reacting to yesterday's ruling, the 55-year-old from Kings Hill, Kent, said: ”Smith has never shown any remorse for what he did.

“Even at the parole hearing, he wouldn’t listen to the personal victim statement of the effect his cruelty had on Tony, but chose instead to leave the room.

“The board concluded that he was still a risk and must stay in prison. We are over the moon.”

In the ruling the panel concluded it was in the public interest he remained behind bars.

It said Smith had no idea how to look after a child and was concerned he might abuse another youngster if released.

Tony Hudgell after he was presented with the Good Morning Britain young fundraiser award (PA)

The panel concluded: "Having considered the evidence before it, the panel listed as risk factors those influences which made it more likely that Mr Smith would reoffend.

"At the time of his offending, these risk factors had included Mr Smith's chaotic life, his abuse of drugs and his use of alcohol.

"He has acted recklessly and impulsively and has struggled to manage extreme emotions.

"The panel considered his relationships, isolation, boredom, poor decision making and an inability to deal with life's problems to be further areas of risk. Specifically, he has no concept of the responsibilities entailed in caring for a child."

During the trial in 2018, Judge Philip Statman said little Tony - who is now 8 - was "seconds from death" before being saved by hospital doctors.

Tony won the hearts of the nation by raising £1.5m for the Evelina Children's Hospital in London (PA)
He was given a British Citizen Youth Award at the House of Lords (Phil Harris / Daily Mirror)

He had fractures to both thighbones, both lower legs, the right lower leg and ankle, dislocations and blunt trauma to his face leading to organ failure, toxic shock as well as sepsis.

But his parents delayed taking the boy to the doctors for nine hours because they claimed they had to wait for a plumber to mend a broken boiler.

When he was eventually taken to see their GP he was gravely ill with his eyes closed and his lower limbs hard and swollen.

After being put in intensive care, the boy pulled through but was left with life-changing injuries.

When pictures of Tony with his new adoptive family were shown to the court, jurors applauded and were visibly emotional.

Tony Hudgell with his adoptive parents Paula and Mark Hudgell (Philip Coburn)

In 2021, Tony won the hearts of the nation by raising £1.5m for the Evelina Children's Hospital in London, which played a vital role in his care, by doing a sponsored walk on his prosthetic legs.

He was then given a British Citizen Youth Award at the House of Lords.

Tony’s adoptive parents, Paula and Mark, campaigned relentlessly for tougher sentences for child abusers and were successful in persuading the Government to introduce Tony’s Law, which came into effect in June 2022.

Under this legislation, child abusers can now be sentenced to life imprisonment - the previous maximum had been 14 years.

The Parole Board did not rule out the possibility Smith could re-apply for parole at a later date.

Tony’s birth mother, Jody Simpson, was also given a 10-year sentence for the abuse she carried out on him, but was released in February this year.

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