Tony lost both legs as a baby after he was horrifically abused by his biological parents, who are serving prison sentences for child cruelty
A mother who abused her child so badly he had to have his legs amputated may be kept in jail for longer.
Parents Jody Simpson and Anthony Smith were both jailed for 10 years in 2018 for torturing their son, Tony Hudgell, who is now seven. Simpson was due to be released on licence at the halfway point of her prison sentence on Friday, but Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has referred her case to the Parole Board.
This follows new powers introduced through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.
Mr Raab, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, said: “Tony endured a horrific and systematic campaign of abuse from his birth parents, and we are duty bound to do everything possible to prevent another child suffering at their hands.
Tony Hudgell with mum Paula the day after he completed a 10k charity walk on his new prosthetic legs (
Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)
“So I have referred the case of Jody Simpson to the Parole Board, under new powers designed to keep prisoners incarcerated for longer when their release would put public safety at risk.”
Tougher sentencing for child abusers came into force in June, meaning anyone who causes or allows the death of a child or vulnerable adult in their household can now be given up to life in prison – increased from the previous 14-year maximum. The sentencing changes are known as “Tony’s Law”, following campaigning by the youngster’s adoptive family.
Tony was 41 days old when he was assaulted by his birth parents, an attack which caused multiple fractures, dislocations and blunt trauma to the face, leading to organ failure, toxic shock and sepsis. He was left untreated and in agony for 10 days, and the terrible damage meant both his legs had to be amputated.
Tony’s adoptive mother has said she is “over the moon” that his birth mother may not be released from jail this week as planned. Paula Hudgell said it shows “how much Tony has touched everyone’s hearts”.
She told the PA news agency: “I’m over the moon and feel quite overwhelmed. It just makes you appreciate the severity of the case and how much Tony has touched everyone’s hearts.
“I didn’t expect it. I was almost waiting for her to be released. Tony suffers every single day, and their sentence doesn’t reflect the severity of the crime.
“These sentences were given out and I feel they should serve that time, it shouldn’t just be half that time. The seriousness of Tony’s injuries are life-long and that’s why we fought for tougher sentences.”