February 2018

Parents are jailed for 10 years for abuse which left baby so sick he had to have both legs AMPUTATED

baby boy lost both his legs after he was swung by the ankles in sickening abuse from his parents, who have today been jailed.

Tiny Tony Smith was just 41 days old when he was found to have suffered eight fractures to his legs and then developed life-threatening septicaemia.

He had fractures to both thigh bones, both lower legs, the right lower leg and ankle, and fractures to the base of the left thumb and two bones in the big toe.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how the exact cause of the horrific injuries was not known but tests from doctors indicated they were similar to as if Tony had been swung by the ankles.

Despite the extensive injuries his parents delayed taking the boy to the doctors for nine hours because they claimed they had to wait for a plumber to mend a broken boiler.

When he was eventually taken to see their GP he was gravely ill with his eyes closed and his lower limbs hard and swollen.

The doctor suspected the fractures had caused septicaemia or blood poisoning so Tony was first taken to Tunbridge Wells Hospital and then transferred to a specialist unit in London in 2014.

After being put in intensive care, the boy pulled through but faces a lifetime of disability.

Mum Jody Simpson, 24, and dad also called Tony Smith, 46, denied causing or allowing serious physical harm to a child and cruelty but a jury at Maidstone Crown Court took less than an hour to find them guilty on Friday afternoon.

The pair were today jailed for 10 years each.

Prosecutor Heather Stangoe told the jurors there had been a series of spiteful assaults on the baby, as well as the failure to get him prompt medical attention.

She said: “We are unable to say who caused and who allowed. There are multiple incidents of serious cruelty.”

After the unanimous verdicts it was revealed baby Tony lost both legs because of the injuries inflicted upon him at the couple’s flat in Maidstone, Kent.

Jurors burst into tears on hearing a victim statement and saw two photos of the boy as he is now on screens and Judge Philip Statman sounded choked as he spoke.

The jury then broke into spontaneous applause after the judge praised the boy’s adoptive parents as “absolute stars”.

The prosecutor said Tony was discharged from hospital on February 9, 2015, and then went to foster carers.

Ms Stangoe said: “He was in a pitiful state. He weighed just 9lb 7oz, including the weight of the plaster casts on his legs. He was in a lot of pain.

“He was on morphine for the first few months and very strong antibiotics.

“Very sadly, he was emotionally completely shutdown, glazed eyes and absolutely no expression on his face.

“Those injuries have had and continue to have a life-changing effect on Tony and his needs are exceptional.

“Such a sad little boy deserves a special family, and the other part of this case is that I can tell you is he does have a wonderful family.

“It is quite true he has just had the most wonderful impact on their life. He is a happy and delightful character in their family.

“They want you to know how really very happy he is.”

Simpson stared at the pictures of their son after the verdicts but Smith sat with his head bowed.

Following clapping from jurors, Judge Statman said: “That is the first time I have ever heard applause from a jury.

“The way in which Tony came to be treated by our health service is in my judgement utterly remarkable.

“I can’t remember – and sadly I do too many cases involving doctors coming to court – where the level of care has been higher than this one.

“I am tempted to say thank goodness for the NHS, because as you know, that poor baby was seconds away from death when taken to the doctor’s surgery.

“Every single member of the health service who has treated him deserves the utmost praise.

“It is utterly remarkable we have in our community those who foster children and those who look after them, particularly when they have disability and show the most wonderful compassionate and caring side of the community.

“Tony’s adoptive family are stars. They are absolute stars.”

The baby was left with life-changing injuries after he was deliberately injured by one of his parents who swung him by the ankles, the court heard during the trial.

Simpson first phoned a GP on November 14, 2014, and reported the baby had cold-like symptoms and was crying.

She was advised to give him Calpol and take him into the surgery when he was due for his six-week check-up.

But when he was taken to the surgery four days later he was gravely ill, having developed swelling and shock.

After being taken to hospital it was discovered the fractures led to the onset of septicaemia and he was left with a poor prognosis, needing a prolonged course of treatment.

Experts found the injuries, which were less than ten days old, would have needed a degree of force that was not consistent with normal handling of a baby.

The fractures were caused before the bones became infected, experts said.

Doctors found the injuries were inflicted on at least two separate occasions and he would have been in distress at the time and for some time afterwards.

Smith and Simpson’s delay in seeking medical help was three to nine hours, when they knew over the course of a few days he was seriously ill.

February 2018

Parents guilty of abuse

The parents of a baby boy who suffered several fractures that led to life-threatening septicaemia have been found guilty following a trial.

X-rays revealed fractures to both thighbones, both lower legs, the right lower leg and ankle, and fractures to the base of the left thumb and two bones in the big toe.

The jury, of seven women and five men, took less than an hour to return unanimous verdicts on Jody Simpson and Tony Smith.

They were found to have deliberately harmed the child at their Maidstone flat and left him with “a high risk of disability”.

The couple, now of Sydney Road, Whitstable, had denied causing or allowing serious physical harm to a child and cruelty to a person under 16.

After the verdicts it was revealed that baby Tony had lost both legs as a result of the injuries inflicted on him.

Jurors were in tears on hearing a victim statement and saw two photos of the boy as he is now on screens. Judge Philip Statman sounded choked as he spoke.

The jury broke into spontaneous applause after the judge praised Tony’s adoptive parents as “absolute stars”.

The prosecutor said Tony was discharged from hospital on February 9 2015 and then went to foster carers.

“He was in a pitiful state,” said prosecutor Heather Stangoe.

“He weighed just 9lb 7oz, including the weight of the plaster casts on his legs. He was in a lot of pain. He was on morphine for the first few months and very strong antibiotics.

Following clapping from jurors, Judge Statman said: “That is the first time I have ever heard applause from a jury.”

Simpson stared at the pictures of Tony after the verdicts. Smith sat with his head bowed.

Smith and Simpson have yet to be sentenced.

The maximum sentence they can face is 14 years imprisonment.

The baby – also called Tony Smith – was just 41 days old in November 2014 when he was found to have suffered eight fractures.

Miss Stangoe earlier said the parents delayed taking the child to their doctor from their flat at Sunningdale Court in Square Hill Road, Maidstone, after he became ill.

They later told police they were delayed because they were waiting for a plumber to mend a broken boiler.

Simpson, then 19, phoned their GP on November 14 2014 and reported the baby had cold-like symptoms and was crying.

She was advised to give him Calpol and take him into the surgery when he was due for his six week check-up.

But when he was taken to the surgery four days later he was gravely ill, having developed swelling and shock.

Experts expressed surprise that the mother had not called for an ambulance, Miss Stangoe told Maidstone Crown Court.

The baby weighed 7lb 7oz at birth and was “healthy and thriving”.

When he was taken to the GP’s surgery at 41 days by Simpson he was gravely ill, said Miss Stangoe.

He looked grey, had froth at the side of his mouth and was grunting.

His eyes were closed and his lower limbs were hard and swollen.

The doctor suspected septicaemia. The child was taken to Pembury Hospital and then transferred to a specialist unit in London.

“He was in a parlous condition and required multi-organ support in intensive care,” said Miss Stangoe.

“On admission, he was drowsy and showed signs of respiratory distress.”

X-rays revealed fractures to both thighbones, both lower legs, the right lower leg and ankle, and fractures to the base of the left thumb and two bones in the big toe.

“A paediatrician and another doctor concluded that his injuries were not accidental,” said Miss Stangoe.

“It was thought highly likely he would die imminently from multiple organ failure, secondary to his injuries and septicaemia.

The child needed a prolonged course of treatment.

Smith, 46, said he and Simpson, 24, “thought the world of him” and would never harm him. He described Simpson as “the best mum you could ever think of”.

Simpson called Smith a brilliant dad who she could not fault. She was “quite certain”, she said, he never lost his temper with the baby. Asked how certain she replied: “99.9 per cent.”

But when giving evidence she revealed she had planned to leave Smith the day before gravely ill Tony was taken into hospital.

Asked why he wanted to leave him, she replied: “Because he was rough with Tony.”

She did, however, stay with Smith for another almost three years until they went into custody six months ago.

Simpson claimed she had twice seen Smith pick the baby up by the wrists so that his head was dangling back.

Miss Stangoe asked her: “Isn’t a mother’s principal job to keep her baby safe? You didn’t keep your baby safe, did you?”

Simpson replied: “No.”

Baby Tony, as he was known in court, now has a new life with his adoptive parents.