Adoptive mother's justice fight after parents' violence left baby without legs
The adoptive mother of a baby who fought for justice after he was so violently assaulted he lost both his legs has told how "horrified" she was to learn his parents could escape prosecution.
The woman said she could not "sit back and do nothing" when legally adopting Tony Smith Junior, after he suffered at the hands of his biological parents Jody Simpson and Antony Smith.
The pair, aged 24 and 47, were jailed for 10 years each at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday after being found guilty of child cruelty and causing or allowing their son to suffer serious physical harm.
But the case only came to court because his adoptive mother persisted with an appeal after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there was not enough evidence to proceed.
Speaking to the Press Association on Tuesday, she said: "I was horrified they [the CPS] didn't feel they had enough evidence. In all fairness, there was plenty.
"I had a gut feeling there was more that could be done.
"I know it was an extremely difficult case but I wanted a jury to decide.
"He fought so hard for his own life. I wanted to make sure he had justice for when he was older.
"At least if I tried and failed I could say to him that I had done all I could.
"This was about holding them accountable."
The 41-day-old baby was subjected to a series of "spiteful" and "violent" assaults in November 2014 and spent three months in hospital after developing septicaemia, the court heard.
His parents waited at least nine hours to take him to a doctor after realising he needed medical attention.
Smith said he could not take his son to the hospital sooner because he was waiting for a plumber.
When the baby was finally seen, doctors feared he was moments from death and took him into intensive care.
He was found to be battling several infections.
X-rays showed he had eight fractures, including a dislocated ankle caused by it being twisted or "yanked".
He needed to be anaesthetised 11 times while he was treated.
Tony, now described as a "happy, cheeky little boy", was left with life-changing disabilities.
As well as losing both his legs, he is deaf in one ear.
After being discharged in February 2015, he was adopted and given a new identity - the details of which are protected by law and cannot be reported.
Judge Philip Statman described Tony's adoptive parents as "stars" and said he was handing Simpson and Smith the highest sentence parliament permitted him to impose if the baby has not died.
But his adoptive mother said there should be longer sentences available.
She added: "At first it was really hard to digest [what had happened to him].
"You think you're never going to come across a case like it.
"In court it was extremely difficult to listen to all the evidence, even though I knew the extent of his injuries.
"It was just heart breaking.
"Other than his mobility issues he is a normal boy now. He is doing well and is always in mischief."
A CPS spokesman said: "This was an extremely complex case.
"Initially the CPS decided the evidential test for prosecution was not met, but following an application under the Victims' Right to Review Scheme the evidence was reconsidered and charges were subsequently authorised."
The reasons for the initial and subsequent decisions would be discussed internally but a formal inquiry would not take place, the spokesman added.