A man who tortured his baby boy so badly his son had to have both legs amputated has had his automatic release from prison placed on hold under new powers to protect the public from dangerous offenders. Tony Hudgell, now seven, was badly abused by his birth parents Anthony Smith and Jody Simpson. The parents were sentenced in 2018 and ordered to spend 10 years in prison.
Smith had been due for release in early September but his case has since been referred to the Parole Board.
The referral overrides the automatic conditional release of a prisoner in specific circumstances where public safety is deemed to be at risk. Earlier this month Simpson’s release on licence was also put on hold.
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 sentenced to life in prison, increased from the previous 14-year maximum term.
“I will do everything in my power to prevent another child enduring the abuse inflicted on Tony Hudgell.”
The sentencing changes under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 are known as ‘Tony’s Law’, following campaigning by the youngster’s adoptive family who have been supported by Tonbridge MP Tom Tugendhat.
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 due to the extent of his injuries both his legs had to be amputated.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The first duty of government is to protect the most vulnerable and no-one is more vulnerable than a child.
Tony Hudgell’s adoptive mother, Paula, who lives in Kings Hill, previously welcomed the halting of automatic release, saying she was ‘over the moon’.
She said: “I’m forever thankful that Dominic Raab has supported Tony’s Law and it just shows how much it was needed and actually how important a child cruelty register would be.”