Star Hobson’s sick murderer gave away ‘controlled aggression’ through secret masking – Judi James

Murderer Savannah Brockhill, who killed 16-month-old Star Hobson after months of brutal torture, showed brief signs of her disturbing mindset in a Snapchat video warning people off contacting her girlfriend, writes body language expert Judi James

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Savannah Brockhill’s Snapchat video released in Star Hobson case

The woman who stomped and punched a toddler to death after months of brutality gave away brief flashes of her true self in a Snapchat video sent months before her fatal blows.

Savannah Brockhill, 28, was today convicted of little Star Hobson’s death in September 2020, having used her size and power to torture the 16-month-old in a reign of terror.

Brockhill’s lover Frankie Smith, 20 – the mother of Star – was found guilty of causing or allowing the frail child’s death.

In the Snapchat video shown in court, bouncer and boxing enthusiast Brockhill showed her jealous streak as she warned “guys and girls” not to contact Smith or send her friend requests – if they wanted to “keep your kneecaps”.

Little Star Hobson was covered in bruises with a fractured skull and leg in the days before her death


West Yorkshire Police)

Star’s mum Frankie Smith, left, and Savannah Brockhill were found guilty of her death

Here, body language expert Judi James analysis the disturbing threats in the footage, which was filmed months before Star’s vile murder…

The most chilling thing about the body language in this video is that it seems to show counter-intuitive or incongruent behaviour.

Turn the sound off and she could be grinning and smiling her way through a selfie, but listen to the threatening words and match them with her facial expressions, and we can see a woman who smiles as she threatens, making those threats seem even more sinister than they might if she were scowling or staring in a way to warn of a state of aggressive arousal.

Savannah Brockhill grinned and smiled while warning ‘guys and girls’ not to contact her girlfriend Frankie Smith

All animals fear a ‘masker’ more than any other foe as there can be little warning from their body language that they are poised to attack. Here we only get to see a slight sneer of dislike from the left nostril as she uses the words ‘friend requests’ before a pause and a long blink.

‘Tramps like youse’ comes with a sucking of the lips that suggests regret and when she says the words ‘knee-capped’, her eye expression suggests excitement or even fun as she performs a smile.

Brockhill’s threat was made more chilling by her wide smile and head tilt

There are two wide and dramatic ‘smiles’ here that would be called lightning smiles as they appear without any build-up and look more like teeth-baring than a signal of warmth or friendship.

It’s a signal that could be confusing to the people she is issuing the threat to though, and the second time she performs it she even adds in a head tilt as she uses the words ‘Number one psycho’ to describe herself.

Wide smiles and head tilts are rituals we usually associate with ‘likeable’ messages and using them to issue a threat would make that threat feel even more chilling as it suggests high levels of self control.

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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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