The adoptive parents of a four-year-old double amputee who had to have both his legs removed because of the horrific beatings he received at the hands of his birth parents are now pushing for tougher laws to punish such instances of child cruelty.
According to the Daily Mail, Tony was put into the care of Paula and Mark Hudgell just a few days after Christmas 2014 and is now a happy and healthy boy who can enjoy the holidays with his parents and his seven new siblings. But the story could have been a much more tragic one if it weren't for the young boy's resolve and fighting spirit.
When Tony was just 41-days-old, he was rushed to the hospital with multiple organ failure, numerous fractures, and sepsis and thought to be "seconds away" from death. He was given little chance to survive and, after six weeks of intensive care, doctors took a call to withdraw all but palliative care.
But the fates seemed to have been on Tony's side as, being a ward of the court and the courts had closed for Christmas, doctors were not allowed to stop treatment completely. In the next few days, he would fight for his life and recover. Though he was now a double amputee, had no left hip socket, was deaf in one ear, and has motor problems with both thumbs — he was given a new lease of life when the Hudgells decided to make him the latest member of their loving family.
It emerged that the injuries Tony had suffered were a result of the continuous abuse inflicted on him by his birth parents, who swung him by his ankles and broke his legs in eight places. They had then left him with no medical treatment for the next 10 days, claiming they were waiting for someone to fix the boiler at their home. When they finally took him to the hospital, they told doctors he had been in a "terrible accident."
However, they were still puzzlingly allowed scheduled visits with their son and would continue the abuse during their few hours with him, with the Mail reporting that the parents pulled down his cast and snapped the split in his leg, leaving it unsupported.
Even more surprisingly, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case against them. That is, until the Hudgells decided to intervene and get justice for their four-year-old son. Their tireless campaigning saw both parents jailed, and now, they are seeking to petition the government for tougher laws to prosecute such abusers.
Paula is working with MP Tom Tugendhat to achieve her goal, with the MP expected to present her petition to the House of Commons on January 8. She said it was her New Year's resolution to continue to fight for vulnerable children and to build more protection for children in British law.
"This year I will continue to fight for all children until we get tougher sentences for anyone who hurts them," she told the Mirror. "Increased sentences will make no difference to Tony now but hopefully, it will help future children. Too many children are abused and neglected and something needs to be done to stop that."
Paula's petition has already garnered over 11,000 signatures and she is also assisting the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) on their Light for Every Childhood campaign to raise awareness about child neglect at Christmas.