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Review finds 'no evidence' professionals missed signs of abuse to Tony Hudgell at Maidstone flat

There is "no evidence" to suggest social workers missed signs of abuse to a boy who ended up having both legs amputated after being neglected by his birth parents, a review has found.

Jody Simpson and Antony Smith were both jailed for 10 years after snapping the bones in the legs of their son, Tony, leaving him fighting for his life at their Maidstone flat when just 41 days old.

A serious case review report, published by the Kent Safeguarding Children Board, concluded that professionals would not have been able to predict that Tony, referred to as Child J, would result in sustaining serious, deliberate injuries.

However, bosses did find there was an "unexplained three month delay" in referring the family to social workers and that no pre-birth assessment was carried out.

Smith, who had a history of drug use dating back to when he was a teenager, was on a heroin replacement therapy programme but a risk assessment into his addiction was never undertaken.

Antony Smith was jailed for 10 years for cruelty inflicted on his baby Tony (3859795)
Antony Smith was jailed for 10 years for cruelty inflicted on his baby Tony (3859795)

Housing staff described the property in Square Hill Road as cluttered and that there was drug use on the same floor, with possible injection sites on the father's arms.

The review said such a report could have helped "identify the possible impact on Child J, and ultimately whether father was able to function as a parent in the medium to long term".

While Smith talked openly about his troubled past, Simpson was less keen to provide information into her background, but was not "adequately pursued" for details by professionals.

Jody Simpson jailed for 10 years for child cruelty of Tony Smith (3859798)
Jody Simpson jailed for 10 years for child cruelty of Tony Smith (3859798)

There was also no chronological timeline of events built up, which prevented collective information being fully analysed, the report added.

It concluded: "There is currently no evidence that professionals in direct contact with the family missed signs of abuse to Child J.

"It was only following the criminal trial that the full extent of the injuries and their impact on Child J was realised."

Tony and mum Paula Hudgell at home in Victoria Drive, Kings Hill...Picture: Sean Aidan..... (5819438)
Tony and mum Paula Hudgell at home in Victoria Drive, Kings Hill...Picture: Sean Aidan..... (5819438)

The report also said that lessons to be learned from the review included a policy that social workers now map out timelines for every case.

Tony, now four, is living with adopted mum Paula Hudgell in Kings Hill, who is campaigning for tougher sentences to be handed down to child abusers.

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