Monster mother should never be released from jail says former minister

Pride of Britain Awards: Ant and Dec surprise Tony Hudgell

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Former children’s minister Sir John Hayes has said the courts should have “thrown away the key” when Jody Simpson was sent to prison for torturing her son instead of allowing early release less than halfway through her 10 year sentence. The Tory MP was reacting to news that Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has had to go to the Court of Appeal to try to over turn a High Court ruling demanding that Simpson is released.

Simpson, 29, from Whitstable in Kent, is the birth mother of Tony Hudgell who she and his birth father Anthony Smith, 52, beat so badly as a baby that he was forced to have his legs amputated.

Both were sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2018 but were up for early release last August.

After Mr Raab put a hold on their release Simpson appealed and won her case in the High Court although the Ministry of Justice was given 21 days to appeal.

Tony, who won the Pride of Britain award, has since won the hearts of the nation with his fundraising efforts during lockdown and campaign with his adoptive parents Paula and Mark Hudgell, of Kings Hill, Kent, for Tony’s Law which ensures that child abusers get a minimum sentence of 14 years or life in the case of a child dying.

However, Sir John described it as “an abomination” that Simpson should be due for early release less than halfway through her sentence.

He told “First of all it is clear that 10 years is an inadequate sentence for such a crime and there needs to be an increase in minimum sentences for all kinds of violent crime but particularly those involving innocent victims such as children or the elderly.

“In this case I would have thrown away the key when she was sente to prison.

“Cases like this we should be looking at life in prison.

“Most people will think it completely inappropriate that this woman can be rleased less than five years into her sentence.

“It is an example of how minimum sentences across the board still need to be increased.”

Sir John was a children’s and education minister between 2010 and 2012 in the Cameron Government.

Mr Raab today has made it clear that he believes early release in this case would be wrong with a woman who was dubbed “monster mother” after he conviction.

He said: “Tony Hudgell was mercilessly tortured by his birth parents, the very people who should have loved and cared for him.

“It’s my duty to protect other children from that awful experience which is why we will be challenging this ruling and Jody Simpson will remain behind bars while the courts consider our appeal.”

Tony’s adoptive mother Paula, 55, has also spoken of her anger about the early release.


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She said: “Any extra time Simpson spends behind bars is justice for Tony. She and Smith are monsters.”

The decision to allow Simpson to walk free was made by Mrs Justice Williams who also granted the MoJ 21 days to appeal.

Tony is also deaf in one ear and has damaged hip, hand, wrist and jaw from cruelty inflicted on him by Simpson and Smith.

Despite the Government passing a new sentencing bill increasing minimum tariffs in 2020, this case has still raised concerns over the way sentences are deemed by many in the public to be too light.

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