Tony Hudgell: Man who abused son so badly his legs were amputated at 41 days old is blocked from leaving jail

The early release from prison of a man who tortured his infant son has been blocked - something welcomed by the little boy and his adoptive mother.

Tony Hudgell, as he is now known, was so badly abused when he was just 41 days old that both his legs were later amputated.

The attack by both his birth parents caused multiple fractures, organ failure, toxic shock and sepsis.

He was left untreated and in agony for 10 days.

Tony, now aged seven, told Sky News he was "proud" that tougher sentencing under legislation known as Tony's Law has now been applied.

His adoptive mother, Paula Hudgell, said sentences were "far too lenient for far too long".

Tony's 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.

The 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 and Paula Hudgell told Sky News that Tony's Law is essentially "tougher sentences for child cruelty".

She explained: "When Tony's birth parents were sentenced the maximum they could receive was 10 years because Tony survived - but if he died the maximum was 14 years.

"Under the new legislation of Tony's Law, it means that in a case like Tony's the maximum is 14 years, and if a child dies it's life imprisonment."

She added: "Going forward, we're pushing for a child cruelty register as well, so that when these offenders are released from prison their movements are tracked."

Tony said he was "really happy and proud" that Tony's Law had been applied.

He added: "They should be out - the good people, and the bad people should be in prison for their life sentence."

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."