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Adoptive mum of lad battered by parents wants 'longer jail terms for abusers'; EXCLUSIVE: Little Tony Hudgell lost his legs because his parents beat him so badly - and adopted mum Paula Hudgell wants justice.

Byline: Julia Roberts

A boy of four who lost his legs because his parents beat him so badly is A-inspiring a fight for longer sentences for abusers.

Little Tony Hudgell went through hell at six weeks old.

In the care of his mother and father, he was swung so violently he suffered eight fractures, resulting in a double-leg amputation.

The case led to a 12,000-signature A-petition being delivered to the House of Commons.

It calls for child attack sentences to be brought into line with violent offences, such as GBH with intent, manslaughter and murder.

On Tuesday Tony and his tirelessly campaigning adoptive mum Paula Hudgell will be at the House for her MP, Tom Tugendhat's Ten Minute Bill.

The House will debate sentencing, a year after Tony's natural parents were each jailed for ten years -- the maximum for child cruelty or allowing serious harm to a child.

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Following the motion, Mr Tugendhat will meet Ministry of Justice officials to discuss the A-proposed law change.

Paula, of Kings Hill, Kent, said: "This may be just a small step in the legal process but it is a huge A-achievement for the campaign.

"How can it be that those evil enough to intentionally inflict A-appalling abuse on the children they are responsible for loving and A-protecting face nothing greater than ten years behind bars, and just 14 years if death is caused?"

She said: "No decent human A-being would think that is right. It is certainly not justice."

Tony had gone with them to the House last month and was A-excited to return and see Big Ben again.

Paula said: "When I told him it was to do with the petition we worked so hard for, he replied 'Yes, I know. It's for people that are mean to children to go in jail.'"

In November 2014, doctors A-discovered six-week-old Tony had multiple fractures to his tiny body.

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One to a lower leg joint was so bad it was consistent with the tot being swung by his ankle.

He developed multiple organ A-failure andsepsis, and had to have a double amputation below the knees -- the right leg in May 2017 and the left five months later.

He now uses "stubbies" to help prepare him for prosthetics in the future -- and will start school this year.

Tuesday's visit to Parliament A-coincides with the four-year A-anniversary of Paula and husband Mark, 54, meeting Tony, aged four months, in the intensive care of London's Evelina Children's Hospital.

They fell in love with the tot who weighed 9lb 7oz, included the weight of two plaster casts on his severely fractured legs. Casts on his arms had been removed only the previous day.

They were introduced to him as his foster parents. Paula said her heart broke as Tony was "on the brink of death". She stayed with him for 48 hours then took him home to start his new life with her family.

She said: "When I met Tony for the first time he was broken, tiny and shut down. His big, beautiful brown eyes showed so much pain and hurt.

"Today he is still beautiful, but funny, cheeky, full of life and personality. He is a little pickle. My world changed forever that day, I wouldn't change it for anything."

As soon as he was legally their son, the couple successfully pressed the A-police and CPS to A-prosecute Tony's birth parents, Tony Smith and Jody Simpson, 25.

The evil pair were convicted at Maidstone crown court in Kent in February last year of causing or A-allowing physical harm to a child.

They were also found guilty of child cruelty relating to their delay in A-seeking medical help for their baby until he was minutes from death.

Appeals against their sentences were subsequently launched, although Simpson later abandoned hers. Smith's was unsuccessful.

Having won justice for her son, Paula has been determined to fight for other children.

The mum-of-eight, who is also an NSPCC ambassador, said the pair will be released after five years, even though both received maximum ten year sentences.

She said: "Monsters like them deserve far harsher prison sentences. If you are convicted of A-killing someone or intentionally A-inflicting grievous bodily harm, you face a life sentence.

"But if you are found guilty of the offence of causing or A-allowing the death of a child, the most you can be jailed for is 14 years. Where is the sense in that?"

One of Paula's greatest supporters was her mother, Sheila, 74, who A-sadly died earlier this month after a long battle with cancer.

Paula said: "Her last words to me were 'Don't give up. Keep fighting for all those babies.' I won't let her down."

The Hudgells are trying to raise [pounds sterling]10,000 to make their house fully wheelchair accessible for Tony and to pay for disability equipment. To contribute to their fund, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/babytony1.

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Credit: Steve Bainbridge

Paula has called for a change in the law to keep abusers behind bars for longer

Credit: Phil Harris/Daily Mirror

Paula says when she met little Tony: 'My world changed forever that day, I wouldn't change it for anything.'

Credit: Steve Bainbridge

Little Tony here with Paula, who hits out that child attackers only face 10 years behind bars

Credit: PA

On Tuesday Tony and his tirelessly campaigning adopted mum Paula will be at the House for her MP, Tom Tugendhat's Ten Minute Bill over Paula's cause
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Title Annotation:News,UK News
Publication:Daily Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 9, 2019
Words:940
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