Mum & partner behaved oddly as medics tried to save murdered toddler, court hears 2 months ago

Mum & partner behaved oddly as medics tried to save murdered toddler, court hears

"I'd expect someone to be worried about their child, panicking and rushing."

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

A couple accused of murdering a 16-month-old behaved unusually as medics tried to save the dying toddler, a court has heard.

Star Hobson suffered "utterly catastrophic injuries" prior to dying of 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.

Bradford Crown Court heard that the Yorkshire mum and her partner didn't react in the way paramedics usually saw parents react to a situation as serious as the one Star was in.

On the day of Star's death, paramedic Wendy Durkin and emergency care assistant Andy Campbell were rushed to the couple's flat, where they had been alerted to a ‘Category 1’ case involving an infant.

Campbell explained this type of case is “as serious as it gets, your response is heightened” and that usually "there is a sense of panic, parents are panicked".

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Smith (Left) and Brockhill

This was not the impression the responders got from the couple upon their arrival at the scene, Telegraph & Argus reports.

Brockhill met them in the flat building's car park, where "she was walking over quite slowly."

Campbell said: "She said the patient was upstairs in the flat. She wasn’t crying, she didn’t seem to be panicked. Her movement was slow, there was no urgency as we went up to the flat.

“She said the child was unattended and she heard a bang. She said she found the girl floppy and had performed CPR.”

Durkin added that Brockhill was "very calm and had no urgency in her voice whatsoever" which she found to be "not normal; I'd expect someone to be worried about their child, panicking and rushing".

She said Brockhill told her she had looked up "how to treat a shocked baby" online before making the call to emergency services.

The followed her into the flat where Campbell said they found “a very pale, almost lifeless child laying on her front wearing only a nappy.”

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He continued: “Her breathing was very shallow; if we didn’t intervene straight away it was a cardiac arrest situation.”

Ms Durkin described Star as laying “on her front on the floor, very grey and waxy, not moving, wearing just a nappy.”

"I knew she was gravely ill and we needed to move quickly," she said.

Campbell said that less than a minute after their arrival, he picked Star up to take her to the ambulance and had to tell Smith to attend.

“She took her time getting ready, gathering a coat and phone,” he said. “There was no rush or panic, she didn’t seem emotional.”

Durkin agreed neither Smith nor Brockhill showed any sense of urgency in leaving the flat.

Star Hobson Star Hobson
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In the ambulance, the toddler was unresponsive. The responders couldn't find a heartbeat and Star began vomiting "massive amounts of sick".

Durkin, who has 12 years' experience as a paramedic, said the sick had “the texture of runny Weetabix” and “just kept coming”.

Campbell said it continued as he began CPR on Star, coming from “her mouth, nose and a small amount from her eyes”.

Both responders said Brockhill told them she had done CPR by pressing on Star’s abdomen, which they said was the incorrect way to do it.

Durkin delivered a shot of adrenaline in an attempt to revive Star’s heart, but it failed to do so.

Campbell said it was only as they rushed to hospital that Smith grew emotional “as it became clear what was happening”.

Durkin added: "She began to scream and cry. She began to realise the gravity of the situation Star was in."

At the hospital, Smith had been on the phone while A&E staff tried to save her daughter, BBC News reports.

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Joanne Goodman, a nurse at Airedale General Hospital in West Yorkshire, testified that Star was "dead on arrival" and that Smith had been behaving in an "unusual" way.

She said the mum didn't wish to hold her daughter, and instead kept stroking her face.

The nurse claimed Brockhill had also behaved strangely as well as aggressively, such as shouting loudly and waving her arms around. At one point, a doctor was called to calm her down, Goodman said.

Jurors heard that after Star had been pronounced dead, Brockhill asked the nurse to close the tot's eyes and put a nappy on her.

The court heard Smith had told the nurse she and Brockhill were in another room when they heard "a loud bang" come from the living room, where Star had playing with two other children, on the day of the toddler's death.

She claimed the mum had also told her Star had "vomited everywhere" prior to the arrival of paramedics at the couple's flat.

The court heard Smith described as "timid" and that the mum had feared she caused the toddler's death by "putting nail varnish on her nails" and not fully immunising her.

Prosecutor Alistair MacDonald previously said that Star "suffered a number of significant injuries at different times," such as fractures to the back of her head and to her right shin.

"Star had been repeatedly physically assaulted over the weeks and months before her death," he said.

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.