Family of girl murdered by mum’s ‘psycho’ lover warned she was ‘another Baby P’
The family of a tragic 16-month-old girl who was tortured then murdered warned social services they would have “another Baby P” on their hands if they did not act.
Pub bouncer Savannah Brockhill, 28, was found guilty of killing her partner’s child, Star Hobson, at her home in Keighley, West Yorkshire.
Mother Frankie Smith, 20, was convicted of causing or allowing the toddler’s death at Bradford Crown Court, but cleared of murder and manslaughter.
Tiny Star was taken to hospital on September 22, 2020 but the injuries she had suffered were “utterly catastrophic” and “unsurvivable”.
The great grandparents of adorable girl – who at one point had sole custody of the child old before she went back to her mother and her “psycho” lesbian lover – said the toddler had been “dragged down to hell”.
Star, known as “little baby blue eyes” by her besotted great grandparents, suffered fatal catastrophic injuries likened to a car crash victim after enduring months of abuse .
She was killed despite FIVE different people warning social services her life was in danger.
A post mortem revealed Star had been repeatedly physically assaulted over the weeks and months before her death. She also had 38 existing separate external injuries, including bruises, cuts, swelling and two rib fractures.
She had two breaks to the right tibia or shin bone caused by forceful twisting. The mending bone had recently been re-fractured and Star had been limping in the weeks before her death.
Star also had 12 cm ‘crazy paving’ style fracture to the back of the skull caused days before her death.
Her murder has disturbing echoes of Baby P, a 17-month-old British boy who died in London in 2007 after suffering more than fifty injuries over an eight-month period, during which he was repeatedly seen by the London Borough of Haringey Children’s services and National Health Service health professionals.
Star suffered a cardiac arrest and died in hospital in September 2020 during lockdown.
But it can be revealed that Star’s extended family tried repeatedly to get help for the toddler, with her desperate great granny even predicting: “I’m worried our Star is going to end up dead”.
But their referrals were dismissed and Star went on to live with her “terrible mother” who would hold her head under water in the bath and video her crying as she faced the wall in punishment.
Her lover, Brockhill, repeatedly abused her before delivering a fatal blow to her stomach.
Star’s great-granddad David Fawcett, 61, from Shipley in West Yorkshire, who is the partner of Frankie Smith’s nana Anita, described the social services’ failings as “shambolic”.
Mr Fawcett, said of Star: “She was so safe and then dragged down to hell” and said of granddaughter Frankie, that she too had been suffering domestic abuse.
The postman, who has been sat in the public gallery at Bradford crown court throughout much of trial after giving his evidence, said Anita and him phoned Bradford Council social services after learning that Savannah was ‘slam choking’ Star and picking her up by one leg.”
Mr Fawcett. “Anita phoned social services, but didn’t even get a visit or get told the case had been closed.
“Savannah must have Star on her knee and made everything look great when the social workers went round.
“We could see from the bruises that Savannah was hitting Frankie and we were fearful she would hit Star. Our referral was classed as malicious, but there was no malice on our part. Anita has friends who are in the same sex relationships and she also has gypsy friends.
“We can’t understand why social workers didn’t come to see us. They had five chances to help Star and failed every time. It was shambolic.
“If social services had taken more notice Star would be alive today.
“Anita told social services that we were concerned about Star and we didn’t want another Baby P. Social services just asked ‘how do you mean’.”
Mr Fawcett described Brockhill as ‘crafty’ keeping Frankie and Star away from all the family who loved them the most.
He said he speaks regularly to Frankie in New Hall Prison, adding: “She talks as if Star is still here. She can’t get her head round her death. She never went to her daughter’s funeral and has never been to her grave.”
The court heard Star’s father Jordan Hobson went to University in Sunderland soon after her birth and Frankie did not take to motherhood, preferring to go out drinking with her own mother and staying out until 4am.
Soon after splitting from Jordan, she went on a drunken night out to The Sun pub, a gay bar in Bradford where she met Brockhill who was working on the door.
Mr Fawcett, she became ‘obsessed’ with the older, more mature Brockhill and the pair would spend hours on the phone together, ignoring Star’s needs.
In February 2020 that Mr Fawcett and Frankie’s grandmother Anita Smith took in Star for ten weeks and they described Star as being ‘depressed’ and suffering from an ‘awful’nappy rash. She gained weight and thrived after living with the couple.
But when her mum came to take her back at the end of April, she went up her great gran’s path “terrified” and “screaming” – according to neighbours.
The jury saw multiple videos recorded by Frankie and Brockhill on their phones. One sickening video showed an exhausted Star nodding off on a green chair. The toddler eventually tumbles to the floor, pulling the plastic chair on top of herself.
Instead of comforting Star, Brockhill edited the ‘slow mo’ footage, putting dramatic music behind it and sent it to a friend with the message ‘f**ked it’ followed by three crying with laughter emojis. Brockhill told the jury it was the sort of clip you would see on TV’s ‘You’ve Been Framed’.
Brockhill had posted a menacing message, describing herself as “the number one psycho.”
Other videos showed badly injured Star crawling up the communal flight of stairs to Smith’s flat in Wesley Place, Halifax Road, Keighley.
Brockhill videoed the toddler’s painful climb, in which the child can easily be seen to be protecting her broken right shin and crying in pain. When the child gets to the flat she is greeted by mum, who rather than give the tearful Star a cuddle, forces her to walk.
Locals in Shipley, where Frankie and her family live, said her girlfriend was notoriously violent with one telling the Mirror: “She was known to be handy with her firsts.”
Perhaps the most harrowing footage was from CCTV cameras at a recycling plant in Doncaster, where Brockhill worked nights as a security guard.
Eight days before Star died, Brockhill took the child to the Eco Power Environmental plant and during a three hour period was captured physically abusing the little girl. She inflicted a total of 21 blows to Star.
A long term neighbour and friend of Frankie’s nan Anita, who did not wish to be named, said everyone in the neighbourhood wished Star had stayed with her great grandparents.
With stars in her window in memory of the tot, she said: “I shared a taxi with her nanna last summer and she looked terrible so I asked if she was okay and she told me: “No, I’m sure our Star is going to end up dead!’
“She told me about the marks and bruises she’d seen.
“Anita has looked terrible for some time. She desperately tried to get them (the authorities) to listen and reported it.
“But those two women would make excuses, they’d not be in and when they were in, they would dress her up all pretty and say she was a happy girl living in a happy home.
“They said she’d fallen down three stairs or off her high chair.
“But when they came to take her back from Anita, Star was terrified and was screaming down the path.
“Anita was very worried because she absolutely adored that baby. She was trying to save that child. This has nearly killed Nita, this has.”
The 82 year old pal said social services treatment of the great gran had been “dispicable” and everyone was “disgusted” with them.
“They should be more on their toes now because of what happened in lockdowns,” she said.
Long term pal, who has known the family for almost 30 years, Stephen Murrell, 56, said: “The gran adored Star and cherished every breath she breathed. Social services have let Star down big time. She saw the difference in Anita when she had Star, she was full of so much joy and love.”
Speaking outside court after the verdict was delivered, Star’s great-grandfather David Fawcett said: “I’m just pleased we got a murder conviction for Savannah Brockhill. To me she was just pure evil.”
He added: “We were just a quiet, lovely family and she ascended from the bowels of hell and just completely devastated and wrecked our family.”