Star Hobson's great-grandfather slams 'staggeringly soft' sentences

‘They should BOTH rot in jail, it’s disgusting’: Tragic Star Hobson’s grieving great-grandfather slams ‘staggeringly soft’ sentences handed to the pair found guilty over her death

  • Relatives of murdered tot Star Hobson call on Attorney General to reassess case 
  • Toddler’s family urge review of Frankie Smith and Savannah Brockhill sentences
  • Frank Smith, 68, said former bouncer Brockhill deserved the death penalty  
  • The family of murdered toddler Star Hobson have blasted her killers’ ‘staggeringly soft sentences’ and called for Britain’s chief legal advisor to review their punishment.

    Savannah Brockhill, 28, was jailed for a minimum of 25 years after being given a mandatory life sentence for murdering 16-month-old Star Hobson in a fit of temper.

    The defenceless toddler bled to death after being kicked or punched by Brockhill with ‘massive’ force at home in Keighley, West Yorkshire, in September last year.  

    Frankie Smith, 20, Star’s mother, will be freed in four years after a judge reduced her sentence to account for the ‘burden’ of knowing she played a significant role in the death of her daughter. 

    Last night, Star’s family slammed the ‘lenient’ sentences handed out to the pair, as they called on Attorney General to review the case under the unduly lenient sentencing scheme.

    Speaking to the Sun, Frank Smith, 68, Star’s great-grandfather, said he hoped her killers would ‘rot in jail’ and asked: ‘Is that all Star’s life is worth? Frankie will be out in four years – how is that justice?’ 

    And he reserved his harshest judgement yet for Brockhill, telling reporters that the former bouncer ultimately deserved the death penalty. 

    Savannah Brockhill

    Frankie Smith

    The family of murdered toddler Star Hobson have blasted Savannah Brockhill (left) and Frankie Smith’s ‘staggeringly soft sentences’ and called for Britain’s chief legal advisor to review their punishment 

    Brockhill (right), a self-proclaimed 'psycho', regularly beat Smith and - when she continued to attract male attention - threatened to 'kneecap' anyone who 'even looked at her'

    Brockhill (right), a self-proclaimed ‘psycho’, regularly beat Smith and – when she continued to attract male attention – threatened to ‘kneecap’ anyone who ‘even looked at her’ 

    Brockhill, a self-proclaimed ‘psycho’, regularly beat Smith and – when she continued to attract male attention – threatened to ‘kneecap’ anyone who ‘even looked at her’.

    The amateur boxer also began physically abusing Star and went on to beat the defenceless toddler to death in one final act of sickening violence. 

    Outside Bradford Crown Court Hollie Jones, 18, who babysat for Star and made the first of five referrals to social services, said Smith’s sentence was ‘a joke’. 

    Frank, 68, was one of five relatives or close family friends who turned whistleblower and raised concerns over the treatment, and bruises that had appeared, on 16-month-old Star. 

    Speaking to the Sun, he continued: ‘She [Frankie] watched her child die. She lied repeatedly to cover hers and Brockhill’s tracks. 

    ‘They both deserve to rot in jail. It’s disgusting.’ 








    Smith - who was interested in dating women but still maintained to be heterosexual - started going out with Brockhill (middle) soon after they first met in October 2019 and quickly fell under her spell

    Smith – who was interested in dating women but still maintained to be heterosexual – started going out with Brockhill (middle) soon after they first met in October 2019 and quickly fell under her spell

    Star’s great-grandfather branded Brockhill, 28, ‘pure evil’ and ‘ascended from the bowels of hell’, while Smith, 20, was seen tearing up as she was convicted of causing or allowing the toddler’s death at Bradford Crown Court on Tuesday. 

    While Smith cried uncontrollably as the verdicts were delivered, Brockhill waved to family and blew kisses as the pair stood in the glass-fronted dock.

    On September 22, 2020, Star was taken to hospital from the flat where she lived with Smith in Wesley Place, Keighley, but her injuries were ‘utterly catastrophic’ and ‘unsurvivable’, prosecutors told the two-month trial. 

    Frankie Smith, 20, did nothing to protect her own daughter Star from her girlfriend and on one occasion held her head underwater to stop her crying, the court heard

    Frankie Smith, 20, did nothing to protect her own daughter Star from her girlfriend and on one occasion held her head underwater to stop her crying, the court heard

    Police released a harrowing picture of one of the bruises on Star's face that sparked calls to social services from family

    Police released a harrowing picture of one of the bruises on Star’s face that sparked calls to social services from family

    TIMELINE OF STAR HOBSON’S SHORT LIFE

    Star Hobson was only 16-months-old when she was killed at her home in Keighley, West Yorkshire. Here are some of the key events in her short life:

    2019

    May 21 – Star Hobson is born

    November – Savannah Brockhill and Frankie Smith begin a relationship.

    2020

    January 23 – Smith’s friend Holly Jones makes the first contact with social services over concerns about domestic violence and how much time she is left looking after Star. Police and social workers visit Star but no concerns are raised.

    Early February – Star goes to live with her great-grandparents, David Fawcett and Anita Smith at their home in Baildon, Bradford, after Smith says she has split up with Brockhill.

    April 26 – Star is removed from Anita Smith’s house by her mother and taken to live with Smith and Brockhill in Keighley.

    May 4 – Anita Smith contacts social services after she is told about Brockhill ‘slam-choking’ Star.

    June – David Fawcett posts a picture of Star with bruises on Facebook alongside a happier shot and with the caption ‘From this to this in five weeks, what’s going on Frankie?’

    June 21 – Star’s father, Jordan Hobson, contacts social services. Police take Star for a hospital examination. Smith says her daughter had hit her face on a coffee table.

    June 23 – Another friend of the Smith family contacts social services with concerns.

    August 14 – David Fawcett and Anita Smith see Frankie and Star for the last time.

    August 28 – David Fawcett is sent a video of Star with bruises and confronts Brockhill.

    September 2 – Another of Star’s great-grandfathers, Frank Smith, contacts social services after seeing video of bruises on the youngster’s face. Social workers make an unannounced visit.

    September 15 – Social services closes the case after concluding the referral to be malicious.

    September 22 – Star is seriously injured at the flat in Wesley Place, Keighley, and dies later in hospital.

    2021

    December 14 – Following a trial at Bradford Crown Court Brockhill is convicted of Star’s murder while Smith is convicted of causing or allowing the toddler’s death.

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    Five times social workers, twice accompanied by police, saw the abusive couple but chalked off complaints as ‘malicious’ and left Star with them a week before they killed her. 

    Faced with numerous referrals from concerned family members, social workers accepted Smith’s story that they were motivated by prejudice, the jury were told. 

    Keighley and Ilkley Tory MP Robbie Moore said Bradford Council leaders should ‘hang their heads in shame’ and resign.

    The Department for Education said Star’s death was ‘deeply disturbing’ and that it would ‘not hesitate’ to remove children’s services control from Bradford Council ‘if necessary’.

    Smith cried uncontrollably when the verdicts were delivered as she and Brockhill stood in the glass-fronted dock.

    Star was taken to hospital from the flat where she lived with Smith in Wesley Place, Keighley, on September 22 2020, but her injuries were ‘utterly catastrophic’ and ‘unsurvivable’, prosecutors told the two-month trial.

    Jurors heard that Smith’s family and friends had growing fears about bruising they saw on the little girl in the months before she died.

    In each case, Brockhill and Smith managed to convince social workers that marks on Star were accidental or that the complaints were made maliciously by people who did not like their relationship.

    Prosecutors described how the injuries that caused Star’s death involved extensive damage to her abdominal cavity ’caused by a severe and forceful blow or blows, either in the form of punching, stamping or kicking to the abdomen’.

    Jurors also heard there were other injuries on her body which meant that ‘in the course of her short life, Star had suffered a number of significant injuries at different times’.

    The jury was shown a series of clips from a CCTV camera which prosecutors said showed Brockhill deliver a total of 21 blows to Star in a car over a period of nearly three hours, some as the toddler sat in a car seat.

    The footage came from a camera at a recycling plant in Doncaster where Brockhill was working as a security guard, and was filmed about eight days before Star’s death.

    The footage appeared to show Brockhill punching and slapping Star with what the prosecutor described as ‘considerable force’, and at one point the youngster fell out of the vehicle. Brockhill also grabbed Star by the throat.

    The jury also saw another video, described by the prosecutor as ‘disturbing and bizarre’, showing Star falling off a plastic chair and hitting the floor.

    Prosecutor Alistair MacDonald QC told the court the youngster was ‘clearly exhausted but treated completely without love’.

    He said ‘there was also a degree of cruelty and psychological harm’ inflicted on the toddler in the weeks and months before she died as well as physical assaults.