Convicted child abusers could spend the rest of their lives behind bars if new proposals are passed by Parliament.
The campaign was formed after the abhorrent suffering Baby Tony was put through resulted in him needing both legs amputated.
His horrific start to life was down to his biological parents Tony Smith and Jody Simpson who were both jailed for 10 years in February last year – the maximum sentence they could have received for their heinous crimes.
The baby was admitted to hospital with multiple organ failure, numerous fractures and sepsis.
After a Christmas miracle to save him, Baby Tony – now four-years-old – was fostered weeks later and has gone from strength to strength once fostered by Paula Hudgell and her family.
Her campaign to increase sentences for child cruelty criminals will now be heard in the House of Commons thanks to the Kings Hill mum’s local MP.
Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge and Malling, will introduce the proposals as part of a 10 Minute Rule Motion in the House of Commons tomorrow (February 12) in an attempt to increase the maximum sentences for child abusers.
He will explain why he believes they should be increased from 10 years to life imprisonment.
On January 8, he presented a petition for this change in legislation that has been signed by 12,000 people from all across the country.
Baby Tony has enjoyed his Christmas this year
(Image: Phil Harris/Daily Mirror)
‘I’m appalled at what happened to Tony’
Mr Tugendhat said: “People who inflict what amounts to torture on the most vulnerable and defenceless individuals in society must be punished with utmost severity.
“I am appalled at what happened to Tony, in awe of his resilience, and in admiration of Paula and her family who have shown unstinting love to him.
“I will keep working with the Paula, Tony and the whole family to make sure abusers like those who hurt Tony serve sentences that truly reflect the crimes they have committed.”
Tonbridge MP Tom Tugendhat
This latest move is another step in a campaign on behalf of Paula Hudgell who fostered Baby Tony into her family with open arms.
Mrs Hudgell said that her New Year resolution for 2019 is to continue to fight for vulnerable children and to build more protection for children into British law.
The resolute mum-of-eight from Kent started the petition calling for tougher sentences for child cruelty which quickly garnered thousands of signatures of support.
Speaking to our sister site The Mirror in January, Mrs Hudgell said: “This year I will continue to fight for all children until we get tougher sentences for anyone who hurts them.
“Increased sentences will make no difference to Tony now but hopefully it will help future children.
“Too many children are abused and neglected and something ne to be done to stop that.”
Little Tony and his adoptive mother Paula Hudgell at Winter Wonderland
(Image: Philip Coburn)
Baby Tony has been thriving under the Hudgell‘s care, changing from a “broken little boy” to a confident, smiling child with “big brown eyes that just melt your heart,” Paula, 50, said.
“Nothing stops him now. He’s really fast getting around and he’s caught up cognitively with all his peers. He is a very determined little boy.”
“He has been through so much but he’s such a wonderful little boy. He shows that all so many children need is a little bit of love and care.
“Now my children say Tony is their inspiration, their hero.
“Tony has changed us all. I would never have had the confidence before to push parliament to change the law before. He’s inspired us all and given us so much strength.”
Baby Tony Smith’s ordeal
Baby suffered 8 fractures
Life changing injuries on 2 occasions
Mum cried in court for failing
Parents found guilty
Baby’s legs need amputating
Baby Tony has had a happy ending
Baby’s adoptive parents on This Morning
Paula is now helping the NSPCC on their Light for Every Childood campaign to raise awareness about child neglect at Christmas.
Anyone concerned about a child is urged to contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000, while young people can call Childline on 0800 1111.
The Hudgell‘s took on Tony’s complex care ne full-time when they adopted him and they are currently fundraising to pay for house modifications and equipment to support Tony. To donate to their fund, click here .
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