Star Hobson: UK Lesbian Boxer in ‘Toxic Relationship’ Convicted of Murdering Toddler During Lockdown
11:16 GMT 14.12.2021 (Updated: 21:39 GMT 18.10.2022)
In September 2020 Star Hobson, who was 16 months old, died after being beaten at a flat in Yorkshire. Her mother, Frankie Smith, was in a “toxic relationship” with Savannah Brockhill, an amateur boxer.
A lesbian has been convicted of murdering a little girl in the north of England and her lover has been found guilty of causing or allowing the death.
Star Hobson died at a flat in Keighley, West Yorkshire, on 22 September 2020.
Her mother, Frankie Smith, 20, admitted to child cruelty and accepted she was a “terrible mother” but pointed the finger of blame at her girlfriend, Savannah Brockhill, 28, a security guard.
On Tuesday, 14 December, Brockhill was found guilty of murder and Smith was convicted of allowing her death. The pair will be sentenced on Wednesday.
The jury at Bradford Crown Court heard Star’s injuries - which included damage to her abdomen caused by stamping or kicking - were “utterly catastrophic” and “unsurvivable.”
Couple Delayed Calling Ambulance For 11 Minutes
But prosecutor Alistair MacDonald QC told the jury that instead of calling an ambulance the pair searched on the internet for “how to bring a baby out of shock” and delayed calling 999 for 11 crucial minutes.
The case - coming only two weeks after the parents of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes were jailed - is likely to renew calls for a major review of social services in England.
The trial heard there were five separate reports to social services from friends and relatives between January and September 2020 but nothing was done to protect Star.
In his closing speech Smith’s own lawyer, Zafar Ali QC, said: “Frankie Smith was a terrible mother. She was selfish and sometimes callous…and cruel to her own daughter. “Her behaviour was more than immature and ignorant. Her behaviour was simply terrible.”
Smith insisted she was innocent and had been in the toilet when Brockhill inflicted the injuries on Star.
Her lawyer said Smith had “an IQ bordering on…mentally retarded” but Mr MacDonald said she had been intelligent enough to convince social services the concerned calls they had received from relatives were malicious.
Speaking outside court following the verdicts Star's grandfather David Fawcett said Brockhill was "pure evil" and added: "She ascended from the bowels of hell and just completely devastated and wrecked our family and poor baby Star's life."
He also criticised social services and said Star's death could have been prevented.
A statement from the Bradford Partnership, which includes Bradford Council, said they "deeply regret that not all the warning signs were seen."
They added: "We have already put in place actions that will improve our practice so we learn those lessons. But we need to fully understand why opportunities to better protect Star were missed."
Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: "Social workers in our district support a great many children and young people and carry out work in circumstances that are often very challenging. It is essential, therefore, that lessons are learned from Star's terrible death so we can better protect our children."