Savannah Brockhill sentenced to at least 25 years behind bars over murder of toddler Star Hobson.
Savannah Brockhill, 28, who murdered 16-month-old Star Hobson after inflicting “utterly catastrophic” injuries has been sentenced to at least 25 years behind bars.
Brockhill subjected Star to weeks of “neglect, brutality, and injury” in a flat in Keighley, West Yorkshire. In September 2020, the toddler died of cardiac arrest after being hit or kicked by Brockhill. Brain damage, shattered bones, including Star’s ribs, tibia,skull and harm to internal organs were discovered during a post-mortem examination.
Frankie Smith, Star’s mom and Brockhill’s partner was sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of causing or enabling the toddler’s death. The maximum penalty for this crime is 14 years behind bars.
The 20-year-old was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter after the jury determined she did not instigate the fatal attack. At the time of the murder, Brockhill and Smith had been in a “toxic” relationship for ten months.”
Star was “caught up” in the crossfire of her mother’s 10-month relationship with Brockhill, which was marked by “petty squabbles and jealous fights” that developed into violent threats, according to the judge Lambert. Lambert said that Brockhill, the “driving force in the relationship” with a violent temper vented her rage on Star while Smith was nasty and meted out “pointless punishments.”
Lambert, during sentencing determined that Star’s murder was not premeditated and that Brockhill did not mean to kill her, but would “lash out” when in a “jealous rage.”
Star’s mother had been “plainly oblivious of the nature of the attacks,” Zafar Ali QC, Smith’s attorney claimed in court on Wednesday.“She is herself a victim of the murder count, having lost her daughter,” he added.
Kath Goddard QC, Brockhill’s attorney claimed that her client fainted at the start of the trial, suffering three seizures and two heart attacks. Goddard stated that her client was released from the hospital so that the trial could proceed, but the reason for her sickness is still unknown.
Brockhill, a security guard and amateur boxer has disputed all claims leveled against her. Smith pled guilty to eight counts of child abuse against Star between April and September 2020, halfway through the seven-week trial.
Smith was said to be of very low intelligence and “abnormally docile” when directed to do anything by an authority person, according to the court. The court, however stated that she “did not agree” that these considerations justified Smith’s actions, portraying her as a “neglectful and heartless parent” who only cared about herself.
Smith and Brockhill also videotaped several acts of brutality towards Star and sent them to friends, sometimes with captions and music. As they recorded Star sliding over a chair or down the stairs, the women could be heard giggling.
Other incidents were captured on CCTV, including one two days before Star’s death, in which Smith used reins to pull her around Bradford city centre. When she took Star to work at a recycling center in Doncaster a few days earlier, she already had a fractured leg as a result of Brockhill’s 21 punches.
Hollie Jones, Smith’s friend who the judge noted was routinely “used for free babysitting,” made the first of at least five safety reports from worried relatives and friends in January 2020. When social workers called to say they were coming, Smith spent an hour washing Star and covering up injuries, according to Jones.
Social workers came to the house four times and closed the case three times, while the police only came once. Boris Johnson called Star’s death “shocking and tragic,” saying that the child murder must serve as a lesson. If required, the Department of Education stated it would “not hesitate” to take over responsibility for children’s services from Bradford Council.
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