Violent bouncer who beat little Star Hobson to death called herself the 'No1 psycho'
INCOMPETENT social workers left a toddler to die at the hands of a violent bouncer who called herself the “No1 psycho”.
Little Star Hobson was tortured and starved by evil amateur boxer Savannah Brockhill, 28, during last year’s lockdown.
Star’s feckless mum — Frankie Smith, 20 — stood by as her vicious lover repeatedly used her 16-month-old daughter as a punch bag.
Brockhill was yesterday found guilty of Star’s murder and Smith was convicted of causing or allowing the death of her own child.
A serious case review into the needless death of yet another child was launched after FIVE opportunities to save the little girl were missed in nine months.
Desperate family and friends took photographs and videos in the hope her suffering would be brought to an end. One harrowing clip showed Star with a black eye and bruised ear last September — just days before she was “stamped, kicked or beaten” to death by Brockhill.
Star’s heartbroken great-grandad, Frank Smith, 68, sent it to social services — but was told his concerns were “malicious”.
Last night, he handed the clip to The Sun and begged: “I want everyone to see this video — the public need to know what they did to her. Look at that child’s ears, the black eye, the bruising.
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“Social services were sent that video and told me I was being malicious. Malicious? A few days later, they closed my case — and Star was dead.” He added: “The pair of them deserve everything they get. Brockhill wants hanging.”
In an echo of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s horrific murder, hapless social workers brushed aside desperate concerns raised by Frank and others.
They were duped into believing Star’s family had an axe to grind because they disapproved of the pair’s same-sex relationship. Star’s devastated great-gran Anita Smith, 70, said she had warned social services: “I don’t want her to be another Baby P.”
She added: “Social services have blood on their hands and should hang their heads in shame. I trusted them. I put my faith in them.
"But they concluded we were all being malicious because they were lesbians. They just believed every word that they said. We had no issues about their sexuality, none at all. Our only concern was for Star.”
Anita, who took Star in for ten weeks last February and watched her thrive, added: “All I have left now is memories. She came to us and flourished. Frankie returned and took her to Hell.”
Social services have blood on their hands and should hang their heads in shame. I trusted them. I put my faith in them.
The court was told Smith and Brockhill repeatedly played on their sexuality to con social workers and “got away with it” each time. The family were helpless as Star was battered to such an extent that, by the end, she was unable to even stand up.
She was punched, slapped, kicked and throttled in the months leading up to her death. The pair called her “it”, talked about shaving off her hair and even rowed via text messages about who held her under the water longest in the bath.
Star was eventually beaten to death on September 22 at the couple’s flat in Keighley, West Yorks. Sick Brockhill and Smith waited 15 minutes before calling 999 as they frantically searched online for ways to cover their tracks.
They later tried to pin the blame on a two-year-old who was in the room at the same time, before suggesting Star’s abdominal injuries were caused by CPR. Tearful Anita said: “She was so badly damaged we weren’t allowed to see her. I asked them to put a card and a dummy in her coffin.
“In the card I said, ‘Your mummy met the Devil’. It’s broken me and shattered my heart. Star was beautiful, cheeky, full of mischief and had her fingers in everything. She was everything you’d expect in a toddler. Her smile, that look and those eyes. I fell in love with her straight away. I try to put on a brave face, but I’m dying inside.”
Anita’s long-term partner and Star’s step-great-grandad David Fawcett, 61, added: “It could have and should have been stopped.
'So many warnings'
“There were so many opportunities, so many warnings — so many people all saying the same thing. Brockhill came on the scene and it was like she’d ascended from the bowels of Hell.”
The unimaginable abuse inflicted on Star began in November 2019, soon after Smith and violent Brockhill began dating, Bradford crown court heard.
Smith, who had split up from Star’s biological dad Jordan Hobson, had an extremely low IQ and was easily manipulated. Jealous Brockhill warned others: “I am a psycho when it comes to my girlfriend and wouldn’t mind putting anyone in a chair for the rest of their life if they as much as look at her wrongly. Keep safe, don’t message my girlfriend.”
And in a Snapchat video, she told anyone messaging Smith: “If you want to keep your kneecaps, I suggest you stop sending her them. She’s with the number one psycho.”
In a joint statement, safeguarding agencies in Bradford said they “deeply regretted” missing the warning signs. They added: “We want to say first and foremost that we’re sorry for the death of Star. This was a child’s life cut cruelly short. We are very aware there is much we need to learn from this.”
Children’s Commissioner Rachel de Souza said: “We need to ask the hard questions about how this happened and the even harder questions about how this is the second case in recent weeks. It is clear there are serious lessons that need to be learnt.”
We need to ask the hard questions about how this happened and the even harder questions about how this is the second case in recent weeks.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “Star Hobson’s death is another deeply disturbing, tragic case.
“It strengthens my resolve that no child should ever have to go through the suffering she endured.”
Smith and Brockhill will be sentenced today.
5 missed chances
SOCIAL workers missed five opportunities to save little Star.
- FAMILY friend Holly Jones first alerted social services on January 23 last year amid concerns over Smith’s constant absence and domestic violence.
- IN May, Star’s great-gran Anita Smith contacted social services over “choke-slamming” of Star. They found no bruises.
- A MONTH later, Star’s biological father, Jordan Hobson, contacted social services and police with photos showing brui- ses on Star. She was examined at hospital but the bruises put down as “accidental”.
- DAYS later, family friend Rachel Whiteley reported abuse to social services after witnessing Smith “rag” Star at a barbecue.
- ON September 2, Smith’s great-grandad, Frank, 68, contacted social services with a video of bruising to Star’s face and ears. His referral was classed “malicious” and the case closed on September 15. Star was murdered seven days later.
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