The early release from prison of a man who tortured his infant son has been blocked – something welcomed by the little boy’s adoptive mother.
Tony Hudgell, as he is now known, was so badly abused that both his legs had to be amputated when he was just 41 days old.
The attack by both his birth parents caused multiple fractures, organ failure, toxic shock and sepsis.
His father Anthony Smith and mother Jody Simpson were both jailed for 10 years in 2018.
Smith was due for automatic release in early September, the Ministry of Justice said.
But Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has intervened and referred Smith’s case to the Parole Board – something he also did with Simpson earlier this month.
The referral “overrides the automatic conditional release of a prisoner in specific circumstances where public safety is at risk”, the ministry added.
A decision on whether to release Smith will be “made by the Parole Board in due course”.
Mr Raab has taken advantage of new powers to protect the public from dangerous offenders.
Tougher sentencing for child abusers came into force in June. They mean that anyone who causes or allows the death of a child or vulnerable adult in their household can now be given up to life in prison – increased from the previous 14-year maximum.
The sentencing changes under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 are known as “Tony’s Law”, following campaigning by the youngster’s adoptive family.
Tony is now seven. His adoptive mother Paula Hudgell said she was “extremely grateful” that Smith’s release was on hold.
She added: “It shows the importance of why Tony’s Law needed to come into force as sentences absolutely were too lenient.
“It also still highlights the absolute need for a child cruelty register.”
Mr Raab said the “first duty of government is to protect the most vulnerable – and no one is more vulnerable than a child”.
He added: “I will do everything in my power to prevent another child enduring the abuse inflicted on Tony Hudgell.
“That’s why I’ve put Anthony Smith’s release on hold and will be referring his case to the Parole Board so that any risk he might pose is thoroughly checked.”
Mrs Hudgell said earlier this month: “Tony suffers every single day.
“The seriousness of Tony’s injuries are lifelong and that’s why we fought for tougher sentences.”