Sunday People

Cruelty register would protect kids like Tony

Mum fights to keep tabs on torturers



THE woman who adopted eightyear-old abuse victim Tony Hudgell has renewed her call for a child cruelty register after one of her son’s torturers was ordered to stay behind bars.

Paula Hudgell said the Parole Board’s decision to stop the automatic release of evil Anthony Smith, 52, “should ring alarm bells” because the abuser almost walked free.

She is also continuing her fight for a register to monitor the monsters who are convicted of hurting children – and protect youngsters from further horrifying abuse.

Smith and Jody Simpson, 29 – Tony’s birth parents – hurt him so badly when he was a baby that he had to have both legs amputated.

The pair were due to be released last August after serving half of their 10-year jail sentences. But former Justice Secretary Dominic Raab used new laws to halt their release.

Although Simpson was freed in February, the Parole Board decided to keep Smith in jail earlier this month after finding his “reckless and impulsive” behaviour meant there was a risk he could reoffend.

Speaking about the decision for the first time, Paula said: “The reasons given by the Parole Board for their refusal are pretty damning. But it’s worrying to know that without the new laws, Smith would now be walking our streets.

“How many other child abusers have been released when still a risk? Why can’t the authoritie­s have powers to keep check on them?”

Paula, 55, has written to new Justice Secretary Alex Chalk asking him to support a child cruelty register. She said: “We must keep pushing. Smith, Simpson and the like need to be monitored so no one else suffers like Tony did.”

Little Tony, who lives in constant pain, won the hearts of the nation in 2021 after he raised £1.7million for the NHS with a sponsored walk.

HAIRY Biker Dave Myers has said his cancer is “going the right way” after 30 bouts of chemothera­py.

The TV chef, 65, revealed he faces further treatment for an undisclose­d form of the disease.

But he told The Times: “I’m doing all right… it’s a work in progress.”

Myers and fellow Hairy Biker Si King, 56, are due to film travel series, The Hairy Bikers Go West.

King said of his pal: “He’s a scrapper. He’s a fighter.”

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MONSTERS Parents Smith and Simpson
CAMPAIGN Paula with brave Tony MONSTERS Parents Smith and Simpson

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