Brave tot beaten so badly at five weeks his legs had to be amputated having 'best Christmas ever' – after adoptive mum fought to have sick parents jailed

The brave tot had been admitted to hospital at 41-days-old with life-threatening injuries caused by his abusive parents, Anthony Smith and Jody Simpson, and later had his legs amputated.

Now his adoptive mum Paula Hudgell, 40, from Kings Hill, Kent, has revealed how she fought to get his evil parents jailed – and how this Christmas will be his best yet.

When our adopted four-year-old son Tony tucks into a huge Christmas dinner this year surrounded by his loving family and armfuls of presents, he'll be having everything such a special little boy deserves.

So far he's had a personal visit from Father Christmas, a trip to Hamley’s and a special holiday in Disneyland Paris.

But Christmas this year will be a very different occasion for his biological father.

Tony Smith and his girlfriend Jody Simpson were jailed for 10 years in February after a jury found them guilty of attacks on five-week-old Tony that forced doctors to amputate his legs.

The tiny boy had suffered horrific abuse and become gravely ill but the evil pair delayed taking him to the doctor because they were “waiting in for a plumber”.

By the time the GP saw him, little Tony was on death's door and raced to hospital in an ambulance where they discovered he had multiple organ failure, septicaemia and fractures to both thighs, lower legs ankles toes and thumbs.

Doctors thought his injuries were consistent with being swung around by the legs.

When we received a call from Social Services to say a baby boy needed looking in February 2015, we had felt overwhelmed.


He was only the second child we'd ever fostered but within weeks we knew we couldn't let this amazing little boy go.

They were worried no-one would want him. His injuries meant he would have special needs for life.

He was four months old, weighing just 9lbs 7oz and he'd been in hospital since he was just 41 days old.

Our hearts had broken for the little lad especially when he opened his big brown eyes. They were filled with a sadness no child should ever know. His body blown up like a balloon as it fought infections from his broken bones.

He was in so much pain he'd even cry out when he was heavily sedated. You could see in his eyes he'd shut down but he was absolutely beautiful. Broken but beautiful.

When Social Services started talking about adoption we were the first to put our hands up.

Our kids Ben, 28, Ryan, 26, Chloe, 23, Kyle, 16, Jessica, 12, Jaden, 11 and Lacey, six, had welcomed him with open arms too.

Taken from the squalor he was living in with his biological parents we'd all seen him blossom, smashing every milestone along the way.


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So when we heard Tony's grandmother was applying to adopt him we knew we had to fight to keep him safe – and we knew that meant he couldn't be allowed anywhere near that evil pair.

We were determined to fight for the little boy too young to fight for himself especially when we heard his parents weren't even going to pay for what they had done.

“They're not even being prosecuted,” I screamed after slamming the phone down on Social Services.

Apparently because neither would confess to causing his injuries they weren't going to bother.

Mark and I were disgusted – they were going to get away with it. Free to have more children to harm.

Social Services said they'd keep them “on the radar” in case there was another pregnancy but that wasn't good enough. After all, with his dad's past as a heroin addict Tony had been “on the radar” when they'd nearly killed him.

We began bombarding our local MP, Kent police and even the CPS until finally we got a result.

“We've done it!” I said, after calling Mark to tell him the news. “They've been charged!”

By the time they faced judge and jury Tony was flourishing and officially ours.

We'd already had to make the heart-breaking decision for doctors to amputate his legs, in 2016.

It was the hardest decision we had ever made but we had no choice. They were holding him back.

Earlier this year, Mark and I spent weeks sitting through Tony's biological parents' trial.

And even though we had seen the horror of every last injury Tony had been left with, we still reeled when the abuse he suffered came out in court.

Former heroin addict Tony Smith, 47, and his partner Jody Simpson, 25, had pleaded not guilty to causing or allowing serious physical harm to a child and cruelty to a person under 16.

But a jury saw through their lies after hearing how Tony had been left with life changing injuries following a “spiteful series of assaults over 10 days”.

It had been horrendous to sit through but every night we'd go home after the trial and his beautiful little face would cheer us up.

At the sentencing Mark and I wept with relief when they were given 10 years behind bars.

We were even praised by the judge for all we'd done.

And when we asked for the jury to see what an amazing boy he was growing into there wasn't a dry eye in the house. They even broke into applause.

But we weren't the stars of the show. It was all down to Tony and his amazing determination.

During the next few weeks our little boy's face was splashed all over the papers and we appeared on This Morning.  He was a national hero.

So six months later in August this year we heard about a savage beating meted out on Tony Snr in prison, I can't say we were surprised.

We could understand why inmates found it hard to share a dinner table with the man – not that we condone violence.

“We don't like that man do we?” Tony commented, spotting a story about the attack on TV.

There was something stomach churning about that man's face beaming into our living room..

“No. We definitely don't,” I said, as Mark grabbed the control and switched over.

As soon as he was safely tucked up in bed we trawled the internet for details on the attack.

The headlines read,”Baby Torturer Battered”.

Smith had been taken hostage and beaten almost to death. He had a fractured eye socket, broken ribs and a broken jaw after being pounced on by two inmates at Swale Prison.

After tying him to a chair they'd stuffed a sock with tuna cans as a makeshift cosh and battered him with it as well as an iron bar.

They'd kept him there for four hours until prison officers came to his rescue.

Mark and I were shocked. We wondered if they'd tied him up so he couldn't fight back, just like baby Tony hadn't been able to.

Shutting down the computer we were both desperate to get the whole thing out of our minds.

“Let's talk Christmas!” I suggested to Mark, flicking on the kettle.

It was time to look forward – and grabbing the calendar I realised what a future our little boy had to look forward to.

The visit from Father Christmas was arranged by the charity Partyman’s Magic Makers and a trip to Hamleys to meet him again came through the Dreams Come True charity who also gave him a trampoline.

And we've just come back from Disneyland Paris thanks to the charity Megan's Wish List. Next he'll be meeting Justin Fletcher's Mr Tumble at a private post-panto meet and greet.

People can’t do enough to help this little boy now. He brings out the kindness in everyone he meets.

Tony can't help but put a smile on your face with his cheeky grin and determination.

That's why this Christmas, he may have more gifts than most people but for our family, he's the best Christmas present we could ever have been given. from Father Christmas thanks to the charity.

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