EXCLUSIVE: The young angel who turned into a monster: Never-before-seen childhood photos show Star Hobson’s wicked mother Frankie Smith – years before she stood by and let the toddler be murdered
Smiling for the camera as an innocent child, this is the young girl who grew up into a monster who stood by and did nothing while her toddler daughter Star Hobson was murdered.
Frankie Smith is pictured in happier times as she starts an eight-year prison sentence for allowing 16-month-old Star Hobson to die, with her partner Savannah Brockhill, sentenced to a minimum of 25 years for the brutal killing.
The photographs were taken by David Fawcett, 61, the long-term partner of Smith’s great-grandmother Anita Smith, who helped to raise her. He said that he hoped that they might help the family remember her what she was like before she met Brockhill.
Mr Fawcett told MailOnline: ‘I look at these pictures and like to remind myself of the beautiful person Frankie was and not what she became after the relationship with Brockhill started.
‘They tell you what a gentle, innocent girl she was. And we believe that deep down, she is still like that, despite the horrors of what has gone on. We’re planning to send them to Frankie in prison in the hope of getting back the girl that we know, not the one who was convicted of such a horrendous crime.’
This is Frankie Smith as a girl with her face painted like a cat years before her involvement in the killing of toddler Star Hobson
Smith is seen here in her school uniform and right in a photo taken in 2009 in the never-before-seen pictures of her childhood
The photos of Smith were taken by David Fawcett, partner of her great-grandmother Anita Smith, who helped to raise her
Mr Fawcett revealed that one of his favourite pictures is of Smith standing beside her Chopper bike, which she still owns
Mr Fawcett said he released the snaps to remind Smith’s family what she she was like before she met lover Savannah Brockhill
Partners in death: Savannah Brockhill, 28 and Frankie Smith, 20, were both jailed this week over the killing of little Star
During the trial, Brockhill was described as ‘controlling’ and ‘violent’ with Smith’s family claiming that she changed for the worse after meeting her.
The pictures of her in the years before the relationship started come as it emerged that the Children Service’s boss who was in charge of Star’s care was praised for his work shortly before he quit.
Mark Douglas resigned from his £120,000-a-year post as Bradford Council’s Director of Children’s Services just five days before Smith, 20 and Brockhill, 28 went on trial in October.
But shortly before news of him stepping down became public, staff were sent a gushing email from Kersten England, the Chief Executive of Bradford Council praising him.
Smith dressed up in a witch’s hat and make up years before she became a mother
The email stated: ‘I would like to take the opportunity to thank Mark for his contribution and achievements since he joined the Council in 2019. During this time Mark has led a comprehensive improvement programme working with a number of stakeholders and partners leading our Children’s Services improvement journey focussing primarily on Children’s Social Care where we have made progress in terms of the quality of social care practice.’
Mr Fawcett hit back: ‘How could anyone in their right mind think that Mr Douglas or anybody else in his department had done a good job. That is ridiculous and insulting to Star and our family.’
Mr Fawcett has been with Anita for 25 years and Smithcalled him ‘grandad’ while also living with them from the age of 14 to 16.
Mr Fawcett revealed that one of his favourite pictures is of Smith standing beside her Chopper bike, which she still owns. Others that bring back fond memories are of their time going strawberry picking in the Yorkshire countryside and her ‘coming of age picture’ for her high school prom, when she poses in an elegant blue dress wearing make-up.
He added: ‘That was Frankie throughout her life. She loved dressing up, especially in Disney costumes when she was younger because she wanted to be a princess.’
Other pictures show Smith on family camping trips, getting ready to go trick or treating for Halloween and visits to a local fun fair.
Mr Fawcett revealed that Smith was raised in a terraced home in Shipley, West Yorkshire by her mother Yvonne Spendley and father Andrew Smith. She was the eldest of five children and had three younger sisters; Ruby; India and Isla; and a younger brother, Harrison.
She also had two half-sisters and a half-brother who lived nearby.
He added: ‘We all lived close to each other and didn’t have a lot of money, but we did a lot of things together as a family. There was a lot of love there and fun times.
‘Out of all the grand kids, I was closest to Frankie and still am because we had a very special bond and that hasn’t changed just because of the terrible things that have happened.’
Other pictures show Smith on family camping trips, getting ready to go trick or treating for Halloween and visits to a fun fair
Mr Fawcett revealed Smith was raised in a terraced home in Shipley, West Yorks, by her mother Yvonne and father Andrew
She was the eldest of five children and had three younger sisters; Ruby; India and Isla; and a younger brother, Harrison.
Smith is pictured with her daughter Star who she had when she was still a teenager with her then-boyfriend Jordan Hobson
Smith is pictured here on a train with her mother Yvonne Spendley during a family day out away from their West Yorks home
The trial at Bradford Crown Court heard details of the horrific injuries inflicted upon Star and the vicious treatment she suffered at the hands of Brockhill and Smith.
Star’s fleeting life came to an end after being ‘punched, stamped on, or kicked’ in the stomach by Brockhill, while Smith left the living room to go to the bathroom, the court heard.
The savagery in September last year left Star with a ruptured vein that led to bleeding in her abdominal cavity.
Prosecutors say her injuries were caused by a severe and forceful blow or blows, ‘either in the form of punching, stamping or kicking to the abdomen’. The toddler’s injuries were described as being similar to those involved in major car crashes.
Instead of dialling 999, Smith and Brockhill Googled ‘how to bring a baby out of shock’ and there was an 11-minute delay as Brockhill attempted CPR before calling an ambulance.
By the time Star reached hospital she was already dead.
The court also heard that Ms Smith contacted social services after learning about play-fights in the flat with Star that involved a ‘choke-slam’ wrestling manoeuvre.
She told the court that this involved Star being lifted up by her neck or throat and then thrust onto the bed, the court heard.
Ms Smith told the jury: ‘I said ‘What are you doing to that baby? She (Smith) said they were playing, and it wasn’t hurting her.’
The great grandmother added that the incident was preceded by Smith having lost interest in being a mother after meeting Brockhill.
Giving evidence, she continued: ‘She was talking and dressing like a traveller; it was all Savannah. Her focus was all on her, she was asking ‘please make friends with Savannah, please’.
‘She just couldn’t be bothered and was on her phone all the time.’
Brockhill, a nightclub bouncer, and Smith were both jailed this week for their roles in the killing of Smith’s daughter, Star
The court also heard details about the five separate occasions friends and family made referrals to social services, highlighting concerns about how Star was being treated.
Despite visiting the flat where Smith lived with Star, social workers closed the case claiming that the allegations were malicious because Mr Fawcett and Ms Smith objected to same-sex relationships and Brockhill’s traveller background.
The court heard Smith met Brockhill at The Sun, a gay bar in Bradford where she was working on the door, in November 2019 and they started an ‘on-off’ relationship.
Mr Fawcett said: ‘We were surprised as she’d always had boyfriends.’
Smith developed a ‘strange and unhealthy obsession’ with her new girlfriend Savanah Brockhill, 28, at the expense of her daughter, Star Hobson, a judge was told.
Mr Fawcett said it was ‘a volatile relationship’ and his granddaughter began to change how she talked, using ‘mam’ instead of ‘mum’ and ‘yous’ instead of ‘you’.
He said: ‘For 18 years she’d not talked like that and now she was, I thought it was strange, that she’d changed. It concerned me.
‘I told Frankie she needed to get away from Savannah because she was going to ruin her life. She had marks on her neck, ‘ he told the court.