Review into actions taken before Star Hobson's murder is DELAYED

Star Hobson review is DELAYED: Probe into police and social services’ actions before murder of toddler at hands of sadistic ex-pub bouncer won’t be published this month

  • Star Hobson was just 16 months old when she was killed by mother’s girlfriend
  • Savannah Brockhill was jailed for life after being convicted of murder last month
  • Star’s mother Frankie Smith was jailed for eight years for allowing her murder
  • Review was ordered after court told authorities missed five chances to intervene

A report into the contact agencies had with 16-month-old Star Hobson before she was murdered by her mother’s girlfriend has been delayed.

A Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review was due to be published before the end of this month but the Bradford Partnership said further work was needed, including making sure Star’s family’s views are fully reflected.

Bouncer and security guard Savannah Brockhill, 28, was jailed for life at Bradford Crown Court in December for murdering the toddler at her home in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

Brockhill was ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison and Star’s mother, Frankie Smith, 20, was given an eight-year sentence for allowing her daughter’s death.

The killing of Star and details of how she was subjected to months of assaults and psychological harm caused a national outcry, especially as the trial came shortly after the case of murdered Solihull six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

A report into the contact agencies had with 16-month-old Star Hobson (pictured) before she was murdered by her mother’s girlfriend Savannah Brockhill has been delayed, the panel said

During the trial, the court heard that agencies missed five opportunities to intervene after family members raised concerns about Star’s mother Frankie Smith (left) and Brockhill (right) 

Star’s great-grandfather, David Fawcett, led the questioning over why social services and police did not act despite five different family members and friends raising concerns with the authorities in the eight months before she died.

A national review was launched following Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s death and education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said last month that the local review into Star Hobson’s case would feed into this.

On Monday, Jane Booth, chair of The Bradford Partnership – Working Together to Safeguard Children, said in a statement: ‘Following detailed discussions between the National Panel and the safeguarding partnership for the Bradford District we have taken the decision to do further work to the Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review into how agencies responded to the events leading up to the terrible murder of Star Hobson.

‘This means that we will not be in a position to publish the review in January 2022 as we had originally projected.’

Ms Booth said some of the evidence which emerged in the trial was not available to the independent person undertaking the review.

Social services missed five opportunities to intervene in the months before her death on September 22, 2020, a court heard. Pictured: family took this photo of a bruise on Star’s face

Star’s mother Smith (left) was cleared of murder, but found guilty of allowing the death of a child. Brockhill (right) was convicted by a jury unanimously of murder and jailed for life

She said: ‘Both the National Panel and our partnership have agreed that this mass of evidence needs to be looked at in great depth to make sure the review’s recommendations are as robust as they can be so that learning for all agencies is captured.

‘Following the trial the author has now also been able to speak directly with Star’s family and we want their views to be fully reflected in the final report.

‘We also want to work closely with those reviewing the case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes to understand common themes across both cases.

‘We know that not being able to publish the review in January is disappointing, particularly for the family and friends of Star, but we owe it to Star to make sure that the findings of the review take account of all the facts that emerged during the trial.

‘It is vital that we all – partner agencies, staff and our communities – have full confidence in the review’s recommendations and the actions that our partnership will need to take in the future to better protect children.

‘We will announce a new publication date in due course.’

Star suffered a cardiac arrest and died in hospital. Pictured: Star Hobson with Brockhill 

Earlier this month, the Attorney General, Suella Braverman, referred Smith’s sentence to the Court of Appeal, saying she believed it was ‘unduly lenient’.

In a statement, Miss Braverman 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.’

Miss Braverman added: ‘This is a tragic and extremely upsetting case and my thoughts are with all those who loved Star Hobson.

‘This vulnerable and innocent child was subjected to continued physical abuse, and her mother, Frankie Smith, allowed it to happen.

‘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. However, I have concluded that I cannot refer Savannah Brockhill’s sentence.’

Last month, Star’s great-grandfather branded Brockhill ‘pure evil’ and ‘ascended from the bowels of hell.

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