Star Hobson killer and mum sentenced to total of at least 33 years in prison
"Her short life was marked by neglect, cruelty, and injury."
**Content warning: This article contains details of a child's death and child abuse.
A mother and her partner have been sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison over the death a 16-month-old girl in the UK.
Frankie Smith, 20, and her partner Savannah Brockhill, 28, were convicted yesterday over the death of Star Hobson, who died after suffering a cardiac arrest last year.
Brockhill was found guilty of murdering the toddler, while Smith was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child.
The Yorkshire women appeared in court for sentencing today.
Brockhill was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 25 years.
Smith was given a sentence of eight years as the judge stated she failed to protect Star from Brockhill's harm.
Sentencing the pair, Mrs Justice Lambert said: "She was 16-months-old when she was murdered. Her short life was marked by neglect, cruelty, and injury.
"She was murdered by you, Savannah Brockhill. Frankie Smith, it was your role, as her mother, to protect Star from harm.
"You have been convicted by this jury of failing to protect her and, thereby, allowing her death."
The judge added that the "violent attack" that "led to Star's death was not, however, an isolated event."
During the trial, jurors had heard how Star was repeatedly assaulted in the women's care, suffering "utterly catastrophic injuries" prior to her death in hospital on 22 September 2020.
Prosecutors said she was "repeatedly physically assaulted over the weeks and months before her death", mostly at the couple's flat in Keighley, West Yorkshire.
CCTV footage also showed what appeared to be Brockhill lunging at and punching the girl in a car at a recycling site.
The couple had been in what the court heard was a "toxic" relationship in the eleven months prior to the day paramedics were called to find little Star "apparently lifeless" and pale at their home.
Questions now remain over the response of social services after multiple concerns were raised for the toddler's safety between January 2020 and the time of her death.
Social services had been contacted by family members concerned for Star's welfare several times since January 2020, but visits found nothing of concern. After Star's great-grandmother contacted social services in May 2020, the case was dismissed as "malicious" and closed days before Star's death, per reports.
Star's great-grandfather, David Fawcett, said: "It's disgusting because there were five referrals. Not one of them did anything. It's just beyond belief, really."
The Bradford Partnership, which includes agencies referred to Star's case, said it "deeply regrets" that "not all the warning signs" were spotted. They are to publish a review into the case next year.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Star's death was "shocking and heartbreaking", adding that the system "must protect children from these barbaric crimes and ensure lessons are learned."