Savannah Brockhill, 28, has been handed a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years for the murder of 16-month-old Star, who died from ‘utterly catastrophic injuries’
The step-mum of 16-month-old Star Hobson who died from “utterly catastrophic” injuries has been jailed for 25 years.
“Psycho” Savannah Brockhill, 28, was yesterday convicted of killing Star Hobson at her home in Keighley, West Yorkshire and today sentenced to life in prison.
The child’s mum Frankie Smith was found guilty of causing or allowing the toddler’s death, but was cleared of murder and manslaughter.
She was today jailed for eight years.
Security guard Brockhill laughed as she was being sentenced at Bradford Crown Court for murdering the defenceless tot.
Mrs Justice Lambert told the court Star was “caught in the crossfire” of the pair’s relationship.
She said that Star was the victim of the “petty squabbles and fights” between Smith and Brockhill with Brockhill lashing out in a “jealous rage”.
She added that Smith was a “neglectful” parent.
Mrs Justice Lambert also revisited the devastating facts of the attack on Star during which she suffered a laceration to a vein carrying blood back to the heart.
The tot lost 50% of her blood having been “kicked or punched” and her injuries were likened to those one would suffer in a car crash.
The fatal assault “was not an isolated event”, Mrs Justice Lambert added.
The court had heard Brockhill had admitted saying she was the “number one psycho” and threatened to “put someone in a chair for the rest of their life” if they messaged her partner.
Speaking outside court earlier, Star’s great-grandfather David Fawcett said: “I’m just pleased we got a murder conviction for Savannah Brockhill. To me she was just pure evil.”
He added: “We were just a quiet, lovely family and she ascended from the bowels of hell and just completely devastated and wrecked our family.”
Star’s murder has disturbing echoes of Baby P, the 17-month-old boy who died in London in 2007 after suffering more than fifty injuries over an eight-month period.
Prosecutors said Star suffered weeks of physical assaults and psychological harm.
The tot was taken to hospital on September 22 2020 but the injuries she had suffered were “utterly catastrophic” and “unsurvivable”, Alistair MacDonald QC told Bradford Crown Court when he opened the prosecution case in October.
The toddler died despite five different people warning social services her life was in danger.
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.
“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.
Yvonne Spendley / SWNS)
“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.”
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.
The jury has heard that the injuries which caused the toddler’s death involved extensive damage to her abdominal cavity “caused by a severe and forceful blow or blows, either in the form of punching, stamping or kicking to the abdomen”.
Mr MacDonald said Smith and Brockhill were the only adults in the flat at the time.
The prosecutor said investigations had found evidence on the little girl’s body which meant that “in the course of her short life, Star had suffered a number of significant injuries at different times”.
Mr MacDonald said there had also been two fractures to the toddler’s right leg “caused by forceful twisting”, which had been refractured as they healed.
He also described a fracture to the back of Star’s skull, and bruising, “much of which is considered to be non-accidental in origin”.
The severity of the injuries, caused by “punches, kicks or stamps”, are most commonly seen in car crash victims, Bradford Crown Court heard.
Audio of the 999 call made by Brockhill, who was convicted today of the youngster’s murder, has been released by police.
Speaking to the call handler, Brockhill tries to pin the littler girl’s death on another toddler.
In the call she says she was making coffee in the kitchen when she heard a “bang” from the living room.
Brockhill said: “I came out and the little lad’s stood there and the little girl’s on the floor and she was crying and then she was sick.
“Now she’s just gone a little bit floppy to be honest with you.”
The cruel woman said she didn’t know if the little one’s injuries happened after falling from the sofa or while playing with the other tots.
She adds: “I came in and the little lad was saying ‘Star’…So I’ve obviously shouted her mum in, said ‘sit up Star’.
“I’ve sat her up and I started to rub her back because she was like breathing but struggling.
“She started to be sick so I laid her on the floor.”
The verdicts come less than a fortnight after the stepmother of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Emma Tustin, was found guilty of his murder in a case that caused widespread shock and revulsion.
According to those in court, Smith cried uncontrollably as the verdicts were delivered.