Five missed chances to save Star Dobson, 1, before mum’s evil lover beat her to death


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Bradford Council bosses have been told they ‘should hang their heads in shame’ as the family of Frankie Smith reveal their five separate referrals to social services before Smith’s one-year-old daughter Star Jones was murdered by evil Savannah Brockhill

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Star Hobson: West Yorkshire Police release 999 call

At least five members of Frankie Smith’s extended family made independent referrals to social services about their fears for her daughter, Star Hobson, 1, with one being told: “She is safe in the hands of her mother”.

Hollie Jones, 18, babysat Star so often the toddler called her ‘mum’ .

She went to social services about bruising on Star and domestic violence by Savannah Brockhill on Frankie.

The teenager was the first to make a referral on January 23, 2020, and told The Mirror: “I was worried the way Star changed after Frankie met Savannah. She just changed.

“Frankie would leave her in a baby walker on the carpet all day. She was still giving her baby milk at 10 months old.

Hollie Jones reported Star Hobson’s mum to social services
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“I telephoned social services, and I was with Frankie and Star when social services rang her to tell her they were coming to see her in an hour. I thought it was a bit stupid, as it was like ringing a criminal and telling them they are going to come round and arrest them in an hour.

“Frankie spent the whole hour cleaning and tidying the house, we were at her mum Yvonne’s and getting Star all nicely sorted, covering up bruises.

David Fawcett, the heartbroken great-grandfather of murdered toddler Star, says he warned social services weeks before her death that she could be the ‘next baby P’
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16-month-old Star Hobson died from ‘utterly catastrophic’ injuries
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“In the end it was two police officers that arrived, not social workers. I was holding Star and they spoke to Frankie. I think social services tried to see Frankie again but she was not at home.

“I later got a telephone call from social services telling me they are closing the case because Star is ‘safe in the hands of her mother.

Frankie Smith was convicted at Bradford Crown Court of causing or allowing the death of her 16-month-old daughter

Savannah Brockhill has been found guilty of murdering 16-month-old Star

“I honestly feel quite gutted about the jury’s verdict on Frankie, I thought she should have been found guilty of manslaughter.

“I’m happy that Star has got some justice and really happy Savannah was found guilty of murder. But social services should have done more.”

Hollie said she felt “really angry” and that “social services need to step up more” adding: “I’m just really gutted because I think changes really need to be made because if they took my referral seriously, potentially Star wouldn’t be gone.”

Star’s student father, Jordan Hobson, also made a referral to social services
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Frankie changed when she met Savannah, her family said
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In February Frankie and Brockhill split and Star went to live with her great grandparents until the end of April because her mum was ‘struggling’.

On May 5th, Frankie’s grandmother Anita Smith referred her granddaughter to social services after another relative told her Brockhill had been ‘slam choking’ Star.

Together with her partner David Fawcett, the great grandmother looked after Star for ten weeks when Frankie couldn’t cope.

Frankie convinced social services the reports from her family were malicious because she and Savannah were in a same-sex relationship

Savannah Brockhill was violent towards Frankie, family say

Frankie managed to persuade them her grandmother’s report was ‘malicious’ because she was in a same-sex relationship with a ‘gypsy’. She then banned her grandmother from seeing Star and social services closed the case without informing Anita.

In June Alicia Szepler, Smith’s sister and Star’s aunt, sends photographs of bruises to the police and speaks to officers.

On June 21st, Star’s student father, Jordan Hobson, also made a referral to social services after he was sent a photo of his daughter’s bruised face. Police again visited their home and saw the markings on the baby’s head. This was the third referral.

Jordan Hobson tried to alert authorities to his little girl’s injury
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Police, along with a social services representative, took Frankie and Star to Bradford Royal Infirmary that day, but she was seen by a doctor with only four months’ experience in child safely who saw the injuries in isolation and accepted the excuses that the toddler had bumped into a coffee table knob and hurt her leg playing with a puppy.

On June 23rd Rachel Whiteley, a friend of Frankie’s mother, made a social services referral after observing her behaviour at a family barbecue. But 16 days later social services closed the case.

David Fawcett had looked after Star Hobson
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Star could have been saved
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On September 2nd, Frank Smith, Star’s paternal great-grandfather, made a social services referral after seeing a video of bruises on the infant’s face.

Social services visited Frankie but were told she was in Scotland. On an unannounced visit next day, when Frankie was present with Brockhill, social workers observed the flat was clean, tidy and warm.

They found a faint bruise to Star’s cheek and a bruise on her right shin. Star was unsteady on her feet and walked into a sofa while social services were present. Frankie said Star had fallen down the stairs. Social services closed the case on September 15th after the social worker concluded the referral was malicious.

David, a postman, alerted social services about Smith and Brockhill

Although the final referral was closed on 15th September, social services were still in contact with Frankie Smith right up until the day of Star’s death.

Smith was due to meet the social worker on September 22nd, the day Star was murdered, but the meeting was put off for three days.

The social worker sent a text to Smith to say: “Thanks for letting me know, we will do Friday at 10.30am.”

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Robbie Moore, Tory MP for Keighley and Ilkley, has called for the resignation of Susan Hinchcliffe and the council’s chief executive Kersten England in the light of the Star Hobson case.

He said: “Bradford Council bosses should hang their heads in shame. I have no confidence children’s services will ever be fit for purpose under its current leadership.

“I am afraid it is my view that Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe and Chief Executive Kersten England must resign.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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