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16th Nov 2021

Accused says she lunged at Star Hobson in footage to “stop toddler from self-harm”

Laura Grainger

Star Hobson

A trial for the toddler’s murder is ongoing.

Content warning: This article contains details of a child’s death and alleged child abuse.

One of two women accused of murdering a 16-month-old has said CCTV footage in which she appears to be lunging at the toddler actually shows her trying to stop the child from self-harming.

Little Star Hobson died in a Yorkshire hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest on 22 September 2020.

Mum Frankie Smith, 20, and her partner Savannah Brockhill, 28, are currently on trial charged with murder and causing or allowing the death of the infant, all of which they deny.

Jurors at Bradford Crown Court were previously shown CCTV footage from mid September 2020 of what appeared to be Brockhill punching the infant in a car at a recycling site in Doncaster.

Brockhill could be seen to seemingly lunge three times to where the tot was sitting in the back seat.

Giving evidence, the 28-year-old today claimed she wasn’t hurting the child but trying to prevent Star from hurting herself.

BBC News reports Brockhill said she was mimicking a scene from the film ‘Liar Liar’ and recreating “the claw”, a playful hand gesture made by Jim Carrey’s character to a boy in one scene.

She claimed that in using the movement, she was attempting to “to cheer her up” and “calm her down” and prevent the 16-month-old from “nipping and biting herself” or pulling her hair out.

She did admit to striking the child with the back of her hand in response to Star having a “tantrum” and “starting to bite herself”.

The court was previously told of internet searches made by the defendant, in which she looked up “what happens if you get winded,” “can you die from being winded” and “what happens to the body if it’s not getting enough oxygen.”

In her testimony, Brockhill claimed she made the searches because Star had winded herself when she was “throwing herself” around in the car and landed on the gearstick.

She added that she had also searched online for a child psychologist as she believed Star to be harming herself.

Texts previously read out in court from Brockhill to Smith called Star “a very nasty and naughty child”, which Brockhill today claimed was in reference to the mum not controlling her daughter’s behaviour.

“Biting is nasty and naughty, that’s what I was referring to,” she told the court.

The trial continues.

More than 100 people attended a vigil for Star over the weekend, during which star-shaped balloons were released.

If you have been affected by any of the details of this article, you can contact Women’s Aid’s 24 hour helpline on 1800 341 900 or Childline on 1800 66 66 66.