Star Hobson: victim of an ‘immature’ mother and her violent partner | Crime
It was only a few months after Star Hobson’s birth on May 21, 2019 that her mother, Frankie Smith, seemed to lose interest in her daughter.
He took a vacation that September and got a Star care friend as soon as he got on the bus to Bridlington, and let his friend babysit at night so he could go out for a drink.
That friend became the first person to call Bradford Social Services expressing concerns about Star in January 2020. Others followed, including Smith’s sister and grandmother, and Star’s father, Jordan Hobson.
Smith turned 18 a month after Star’s birth, and his family said he was very immature for his age. I still played with dolls when I was 16, preferring realistic models that I would wrap when it was cold. He grew up in a chaotic home with his single mother and several siblings.
After her arrest, a psychologist rated her as the bottom 2% of intelligence. The psychologist said she was “abnormally complacent” and “abnormally inclined to accept what an authority figure tells her to do.”
Savannah Brockhill, who became his girlfriend, was one of those figures, prosecutors argued. Eight years older, he left school at 10 and had hidden his bisexuality from most of his family until he spoke it in the witness box. An amateur boxer, she hoped to compete in the Olympics, but was injured and worked as a caregiver and later as a security guard.
The couple met at the Sun pub in Keighley, where Brockhill worked as a gorilla. Their stormy relationship began in November 2019, when Smith broke up with Hobson.
In a short time, Smith’s friends realized that he was losing even more interest in Star and became “obsessed” with Brockhill, spending hours and hours on the phone with her.
It was Brockhill’s phone that finally secured his conviction: every time he attacked Star, he would search Google for tips to cover his tracks, asking him, “Can you die of getting wrapped up?” from head trauma? “,” how to get bruises “. down “and” signs of a battered baby. “
When, on September 22, 2020, he punched Star so hard that he caused the injuries that eventually led to the girl’s death, Brockhill reconnected, searching Google for “shock in the babies “and” how to get a baby out of shock “11 minutes before her. or Smith sent a text message to 999.
The signs that Brockhill had a problem with violence have been there since at least February 2020, when she posted an online video calling herself “the number one psychologist.”
Each half of the couple was jealous of the other. In February 2020, Brockhill was paranoid that Smith was cheating on him, sending a message to one of Smith’s sisters saying, “I’m broken, I’ll stab someone tonight, I swear.” He threatened to confront Smith, “I don’t care about the kids in the house, I’ll be mad. Shit, they’ll need police at home to take me away.”
Family members began to suspect that the relationship was violent after seeing Smith with bruises and black eyes. In mid-March 2020, Brockhill hit Smith in the Sun pub, he said accidentally, but Smith’s mother, Yvonne Spedley, said Brockhill punched him in the face. The couple then sped off in Brockhill’s car.
The next day, Brockhill texted her boxing partner that she had tried to kill herself and Smith by driving down a cliff, but ended up giving Smith “a hideout.” He said he needed help “mentally” and that “I’m out of control.”
In May 2020, according to Star’s extended family, they were told they could no longer see her, by order of Brockhill. The catalyst was Smith’s grandmother who called social services after learning that Brockhill had been holding Star in a “suffocated slam.” This fighting move involved Star being “lifted by the neck or throat and then placed in bed,” the court heard. Challenged by her grandmother, Smith said it was to harden Star.
But some family members still managed to see Star. In June, they realized that he had bruises and had gone from being a happy, healthy child to a withdrawn, fearful child who often seemed to be in pain and had lost weight. Later that month, Hobson called social services after seeing images of bruises on his daughter’s face, prompting a police visit and Star being checked at the local hospital.
When friends and family allowed themselves close to the couple, they were alarmed to see the strict regime that Brockhill seemed to have instigated for Star. She was deliberately deprived of sleep and was barely a year old when she was forced to spend five minutes or more alone in front of a wall by the smallest of transgressions, transgressions that, in any case, were too young to understand. .
It was again the couple’s phones that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they had been abusing Star for their own amusement.
In June 2020, they both filmed Star swaying in exhaustion before falling head over heels. They found the video funny, sending a version to friends edited by Brockhill with a soundtrack and subtitles added for dramatic effect. Brockhill later told the jury that he was inspired by You’ve Been Framed when editing the videos.
Smith told the jury he did not understand at the time that what he was doing was child abuse. “I loved my star,” she said, though they had heard that she had previously referred to her daughter as “pussy” and “her.”
Halfway through the trial, he said he had seen the light of day and pleaded guilty to neglecting Star at least eight different times during the month until his death. This included an incident captured by CCTV in downtown Bradford, where he was seen dragging Star along the sidewalk using his reins.
He said he didn’t know that day that Star’s leg was broken. This fracture was the result of one of the 21 blows inflicted on Star by Brockhill a few days earlier when he took her to work at a Doncaster recycling center so Smith could go out for a drink.
CCTV captured the relentless abuse, which also led to a skull fracture. Brockhill tried to persuade the jury that the cameras lied, admitting to slapping Star once in the cheek, but nothing worse. She suggested that the fatal blow to Star’s abdomen on Sept. 22 was not inflicted by her, an 11-stone amateur boxer, but by one of the other children in the room at a time when her back was turned. Alternatively, he suggested, maybe Star just fell off the couch.
Throughout the seven-week trial, Brockhill insisted that she also loved Star and was just trying to get her into a “routine.” He told paramedics that Star was “my baby girl too, I raised her,” and then accidentally dropped the cup of coffee on the cart of the hospital where Star was dead. At times, during rehearsals, she cried, wiping her tears with a disposable mask.
The day Star was assassinated, social services had to visit Smith (numerous visits were made throughout 2020 as the files were opened and closed to Star), but Smith had successfully “diverted” the social worker, the court heard and adjourned the meeting. .
Bradford council said a local review of child safety practices was underway and would be completed after the trial was concluded. Star’s family said they expected him to explain why social workers did not take steps to keep Star safe despite numerous warnings.
Smith and Brockhill may have managed to get the wool out in the eyes of a social worker, but the jury was not convinced.