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Kings Hill mum Paula Hudgell and MP Tom Tugendhat set to present petition to parliament

A mum’s battle for tougher sentences to be handed down to child abusers is set to reach parliament tonight.

Paula Hudgell, from Kings Hill, launched her campaign last year after her adopted son Tony captured the hearts of the whole of the UK when his tale as a baby was retold in front of a jury.

His evil biological parents Jody Simpson and Antony Smith were both sent to prison for 10 years after snapping the bones in his legs.

Tony and mum Paula Hudgell at home in Victoria Drive, Kings Hill. Picture: Sean Aidan
Tony and mum Paula Hudgell at home in Victoria Drive, Kings Hill. Picture: Sean Aidan

The then 41-day-old baby was fighting for his life when he developed sepsis and toxic shock syndrome.

He miraculously made a full recovery, but only after his legs were amputated.

Now he is the face of a campaign for abusers, such as his original parents, to be given longer sentences should they be convicted of a similar offence.

Tony Hudgell, four, playing drums. Picture: John Westhrop
Tony Hudgell, four, playing drums. Picture: John Westhrop

Mrs Hudgell has amassed almost 12,000 signatures and her MP Tom Tugendhat will present the petition at parliament tonight.

She said: “Tony was four months old when he lived with us. He came home to us very broken and was a withdrawn little boy.

“We have been campaigning since his parents were jailed for tougher sentences because 10 years just isn’t enough.

“We started off with an online petition thinking that could be used but sadly unless you hit 100,000 signatures, it can’t be.

“Our MP Tom Tugendhat set up a hard copy petition for us which we started in August and we have maintained and reached our 12,000 target and it is going to parliament.

“At the moment sentences are very lenient. We were lucky the maximum sentence was given because rarely will a judge give a maximum sentence.”

Judge Philip Statman said his hands were tied when he jailed Tony’s biological parents but Mrs Hudgell hopes the campaign can give judges the power to pass down sentences similar to those of grievous bodily harm offences.

She added: “When we first started this we weren’t sure about the impact it would make but it has made a huge impact.

Baby Tony
Baby Tony

“People didn’t realise these sentences were so lenient and we just thought we need to be a voice for all these children.

“Tony is a very lively vibrant little boy. He may have lost both his legs but he can get around very quick.

“His case is all done and dusted and this is now purely for future cases.”

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