Man who abused baby so badly his legs were amputated battered with tins of tuna by inmates for two hours

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A father who abused his own baby so badly his legs had to be amputated was held hostage in his cell and beaten with tins of tuna by two fellow inmates.

Anthony Smith, the father of Tony Hudgell, was tied up and battered with homemade weapons for two hours.

He had 12 teeth knocked out after two prisoners attacked him with socks filled with tuna tins during the incident at HMP Swaleside on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent.

Smith is serving a 10-year term for child cruelty after he and girlfriend Jody Simpson abused their son when he was just four months old at their flat in Maidstone, Kent, in 2014.

Tony, now seven, suffered severe injuries, including a hip dislocation and head trauma, which forced surgeons to have to amputate both legs at the knee.

Now seven, he has since learnt to walk on prosthetic legs and during the coronavirus lockdown raised more than £1.5m for the NHS and the hospital that saved his life.

His campaigning with adopted mother, Paula Hudgell, also led to a recent law change, dubbed Tony’s Law, which could see abusers jailed for life.

Michael Stewart, 31, and Nathan Odgers, 36, pushed Smith, now 51, into his cell after collecting his breakfast and beat him up.

The pair struck Smith repeatedly with their improvised weapons after tying him to his cell bed.

During the attack the inmates shouted that Smith should lose his legs and threatened to “chop off his legs” – a reference to the violence he inflicted on his son.

They told him to go along with their hostage plan staged in protest at being at the notorious category B jail dubbed ‘Stabside’ in the hope of being moved jails.

The father of Tony Hudgell was held hostage in his prison cell as fellow inmates beat him with tuna tins

(Paula Hudgell/SWNS)

Both defendants later claimed Smith volunteered but he denied this.

A wardrobe was pushed across the door and the observation panel blocked with toilet paper as the pair demanded to speak to a governor.

Initially Stewart and Odgers did not know of Smith’s notorious crimes until another inmate shouted out who he was.

Stewart – who was serving 10 years for serious violence – and Nathan Odgers – who is serving 10-and-a-half years for a sting of armed robberies – then barricaded themselves in after tying Smith to the bed.

A prisoner was heard to shout: “He should have his legs chopped off.”

Smith was left needing hospital treatment for multiple teeth fractures and bruising. The force of the attack caused the tuna tins used to be “heavily dented”.

The incident took place in August 2018 – just six months after Smith and Simpson were jailed over their abuse – but it would take another 19 months before the CPS would authorise charges.

A judge at Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday said the delay was “extraordinary and unconscionable” and cut their sentences by a year.

Tony Hudgell pictured with his adoptive parents Paula and Mark Hudgell after finishing a fundraising walk in June 2020

( Gareth Fuller/PA)

Stewart, who had links to Bedford, was given an extended jail term of eight years and five months and father-of-four Odgers, from Hastings, East Sussex, received an extended sentence of nine years and six months.

Both men admitted charges of false imprisonment and assault causing actual bodily harm.

Judge Jeremy Donne QC told the court Smith needed 12 teeth replaced – although the pair were not responsible for all of the injuries.

He said he accepted the motive for the attack was not revenge but a desire to move to a different jail.

He ordered Stewart to serve an immediate jail term of three years and eight months and Odgers four years and six months.

The judge then ruled the two will also have to serve another five years on licence when they are released after serving two-thirds of the jail terms.

Additional reporting by SWNS

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