Star Hobson: Mother of toddler could have ‘lenient’ eight-year sentence increased

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Star Hobson who died from “utterly catastrophic” injuries  (PA Media)
Star Hobson who died from “utterly catastrophic” injuries (PA Media)

A mother who was found to have caused or allowed her defenceless toddler’s death in a case that shocked the nation could have her eight-year jail sentence increased.

Frankie Smith, 20, was sentenced alongside her former partner Savannah Brockhill at Bradford Crown Court last month after the tragic death of her daughter Star Hobson.

The Attorney General Suella Braverman said the case was “tragic and extremely upsetting” and has now referred Smith’s “unduly lenient” sentence to the Court of Appeal.

However, Ms Braverman said she could not recommend an increase in sentence for Brockhill who was handed a life term with a minimum of 25 years behind bars.

She said: “I can only challenge a sentence if it is not just lenient but unduly so, such that the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range of sentences reasonably available in the circumstances of the offence.

"The threshold is a high one, and the test was not met in this case."

Frankie Smith’s sentence will be reviewed after being referred to the Court of Appeal (West Yorkshire Police/PA) (PA Media)
Frankie Smith’s sentence will be reviewed after being referred to the Court of Appeal (West Yorkshire Police/PA) (PA Media)

Brockhill, 28, and Smith were sentenced just a fortnight after Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes were jailed for killing six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes in similar circumstances.

Like Smith, their cases were also referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General amid public outcry over the offences and the injuries inflicted on their young and vulnerable victims.

Announcing her decision on Smith’s sentence on Wednesday evening, Ms Braverman said: "This case will have caused upset to anyone who read about it, but my job is to decide if a sentence appears to be too low based solely on the facts of the case.

"I have carefully considered the details of this case, and I concluded that I can refer Frankie Smith’s sentence to the Court of Appeal as I believe it is unduly lenient.”

Star was taken to hospital from the flat where she lived with Smith in Keighley, on September 22 2020, but her injuries were "utterly catastrophic" and "unsurvivable", the trial heard.

Savannah Brockhill is serving a life sentence for killing Star Hobson (West Yorkshire Police/PA) (PA Media)
Savannah Brockhill is serving a life sentence for killing Star Hobson (West Yorkshire Police/PA) (PA Media)

Jurors were told Smith’s family and friends had growing fears about bruising they saw on the little girl in the months before she died.

But Brockhill and Smith managed to convince social workers the marks were accidental or that the complaints were made maliciously by people who did not like their relationship.

Sentencing Brockhill and Smith, judge Mrs Justice Lambert said Star’s "short life was marked by neglect, cruelty and injury".

She was found to have suffered two brain injuries, numerous ribs fractures, the fracture and refracture of her leg, and a skull fracture when she died.

A date for the Court of Appeal hearing has not yet been confirmed.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting