Viewers across the United Kingdom have been left in tears after an inspirational little boy appeared on a popular morning show with his adoptive family to discuss how he somehow managed to survive horrific abuse at the hands of his birth parents. The abuse little Tony experienced was so extreme that both his legs had to be amputated and he was moments away from death.
Speaking on This Morning, Tony’s adoptive mum and dad Paula and Mark Hogell explained how at just 41 days old, Tony was admitted to hospital with organ failure and sepsis and both his legs being broken as a result of his parents swinging him around by his ankles.
The Hogells already had eight children before Tony came into their lives. They were foster carers when they first met the little boy and had no idea he was going to become such a massive part of their lives.
They told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield they were given very little background when they were called to the hospital, other than Tony had his limbs broken. After around half an hour, the nurses went through Tony’s horrific history and Paula and Mark knew they had to help. At his worst, Tony was seconds away from death, according to Paula.
“They never expected him to survive,” she said.
He spent three months in a children’s hospital and somehow managed to beat the odds to survive. When he was allowed to go home with the Hogells, his birth parents still had visiting rights, making contact with their son three times a week for two hours at a time. Paula explained that although the visits were supervised, Tony would return and have night terrors.
“He didn’t cope very well,” she recalled. “That went on for seven months.”
Paula and Mark also began noticing worrying signs after Tony returned home from visits with his birth parents. After one visit, the cast on his leg had been pulled and his splint had been snapped off. Because they were simply foster careers at the time, the pair could only record what they were noticing in their daily notes.
In the end, Tony’s legs were amputated because of the irreversible damage caused. It was a choice that was extremely difficult for Paula and Mark to make, but one that ultimately saved the little boy’s life.
Paula said she still doesn’t know what fully happened to Tony or how the injuries were caused, but said they received more information when they adopted him in 2016. While the Crown Prosecution Service initially said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Tony’s birth parents for the injuries he received, the Hogells continued to fight for the truth, speaking to local MPs, the police commissioner and local detectives until they had all the evidence to take the parents to court. Eventually, their day came and the birth parents were jailed for 10 years.
“I don’t think we’ve cried so many tears,” the couple said of hearing the horrific details in court.
The court heard how Tony’s legs were mangled, how he had sustained several fractures across his tiny body, how he was swung from his ankles and that he was underweight. The court also heard how Tony’s birth parents put off seeking medical attention after one abusive incident for nine hours because they were waiting for a plumber.
Thankfully, Tony got his happily ever after thanks to the love and dedication from the Hogells. Now three, he also appeared on This Morning and completely stole the show. The hosts surprised the family with a trip to Peppa Pig World and made the little boy feel like the star he is.
Viewers at home also shared their support for Tony and the Hogells online.
One person on Twitter wrote: “Crying at #ThisMorning. What a beautiful little boy little Tony is. Amazing adoptive parents too! Wonderful couple. How anyone, especially parents, would want to hurt a child and in such an evil way, is beyond me. I hope they rot”.
Another message read: “Just watching on +1 you are amazing parents I salute you for your resolve in getting justice for your son Tony. But the fact they only got 10yrs for the injuries inflicted is disgusting, 25yrs still wouldn’t be enough”.
A third added: “I wouldn’t call them ‘parents’ they don’t deserve that title. Filth of the earth. His amazing adoptive parents are the ones who should take every bit of credit for this lovely little boy. Thank god for selfless, amazing, heroic people like them”.