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Adoptive parents share heartbreaking story of baby Tony's abuse on This Morning

By Luke May

The adoptive parents of a three-year-old boy left disabled at the hands of his biological parents, have shared his story with the nation.

At just 41 days old Tony Hudgell was admitted to hospital with multiple injuries and life-threatening septicaemia. His injuries were so serious they would eventually lead to both of his legs being amputated.

Now Tony's loving new parents have spoken about his journey on ITV's This Morning - an appearance which left many viewers in tears.

Mark and Paula Hudgell together with Tony, now three, and This Morning presenters Phillip Scofield and Holly Willoughby (2435603)
Mark and Paula Hudgell together with Tony, now three, and This Morning presenters Phillip Scofield and Holly Willoughby (2435603)

Paula Hudgell and husband Mark adopted Tony and gave him a new life.

The abuse on the youngster, then known as Tony Smith, was carried out by Jody Simpson and Anthony Smith, from Maidstone in 2014. The Hudgells decided to adopt him in 2015, but were not allowed to know full extent of what happened to Tony.

Mrs Hudgell said abuse still continued during the adoption process when Simpson and Smith were allowed to visit.

Paula Hudgell appeared on This Morning to tell Tony's story. (2435601)
Paula Hudgell appeared on This Morning to tell Tony's story. (2435601)

She told presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby she took notes of injuries Tony had and thought the authorities were doing the same.

On one occasion she believed a cast had been pulled down.

The Hudgells became the youngster's adoptive parents in March 2016, but the effects of the devastating injuries meant their son lost both of his legs.

Antony Smith was jailed for 10 years for cruelty inflicted on his baby Tony.
Antony Smith was jailed for 10 years for cruelty inflicted on his baby Tony.

When the CPS said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute, Mrs Hudgell pushed for prosecution herself and spent a year campaigning for justice.

Presenter Holly Willoughby said: "We started this interview saying we think you're amazing, because you didn't give up, you spoke to your local MP you spoke to your police commissioner, your local detective.

"You kept going until you had all that evidence, all your ducks in a row to go back to the CPS and take those parents to court."

Jody Simpson was jailed for 10 years for child cruelty against her own baby.
Jody Simpson was jailed for 10 years for child cruelty against her own baby.

Mrs Hudgell told the programme: "You're given the basics, I don't think to this day we fully know what happened to him or how his injuries were caused. We went on to adopt him in March 2016 up until that date I wasn't allowed to be given any information as to how the police proceedings were going, once we were his legal parents we could find that out."

During the court case earlier this year the jury into applause when they heard about Tony's happy new life and saw pictures of how he is today.

Speaking outside the court Mrs Hudgell said: "The first time I met Tony, he was shut down, withdrawn and totally glazed over but he had these beautiful big brown eyes and he melted me.

"I wasn’t going to leave that hospital without him. Those big brown eyes still get me now even when he is being very naughty.

"He is such a happy loving little boy that he just brightens up every day.

"Obviously one day he is going to want to know why he is in the state he is in and we will always be open and honest with him. He will always know his story."

Following the conviction, Kent Messenger set up a fundraising page, which raised thousands towards a specialist wheelchair.

Viewers expressed their shock at Tony's story, as he joined his parents on the famous sofa.

Mrs Hudgell revealed he was excited to meet Holly, before Tony waved to pre-school chums watching at home.

Smith and Simpson, who later moved to Whitstable, were sentenced in February.

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