Baby girl, 16 months, 'murdered' by mother and partner who 'stamped on her'

·4-min read
Baby
Star Hobson, 16 months, suffered catastrophic injuries and died in hospital. (GoFundMe)

A 16-month-old baby girl was stamped on by her mother and her bouncer partner who then tried to blame another toddler for her injuries, a court has heard.

Star Hobson was left with 'catastrophic' injuries to her abdomen, including a split to her liver, major blood loss, and injuries to her bowel, lungs and pancreas.

Medics called to a flat in Keighley, West Yorkshire, in September last year found the 16-month-old lifeless and wearing only a nappy on September 22 last year.

They administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation and she was rushed to hospital but died that afternoon.

Star's mother Frankie Smith, 20, and Savannah Brockhill, 28, are standing trial for her murder and both deny charges of murder and causing or allowing the death of a child.

A general view of Bradford Crown Court, Bradford.   (Photo by Anna Gowthorpe/PA Images via Getty Images)
Frankie Smith, 20, and Savannah Brockhill, 28, are standing trial at Bradford Crown Court. (Getty)

Prosecutor Alistair MacDonald QC told Bradford Crown Court that Star's injuries had been caused by a severe and forceful blow or blows, "either in the form of punching, stamping or kicking to the abdomen".

He said: "The effect of such injuries was immediate and heavy bleeding into the abdominal cavity, which caused a catastrophic drop in blood pressure and unconsciousness and death within seconds to minutes.

"The assault or assaults that killed Star clearly involved the use of severe force and were obviously intentional. This little girl suffered no accidental death.

"It is the prosecution case that she was killed by the intentional infliction of injury and that the person or persons who inflicted these injuries intended, at the very least, to cause really serious harm to a helpless young child and that, in those circumstances, they are guilty of murder."

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After causing the injuries, the pair searched online for ‘shock in babies’ and waited 15 minutes before calling for help, the court heard.

"It is, say the prosecution, inconceivable that any carer, would wait 15 minutes to call for professional help when their 16 month-old child was showing symptoms of a medical catastrophe," MacDonald said.

"Any innocent carer, say the crown, would have been on the telephone within seconds, not 15 minutes."

He said when the couple were questioned by police, they admitted being in the flat when Star suffered her injuries but tried to pin the blame on another child.

"Each gave an account of Star being in the living room with a two-year-old child and another smaller child when Frankie Smith said she was using the lavatory and Savannah Brockhill was in the kitchen," he said.

"It will be the prosecution case that is nothing short of absurd were it to be suggested that these injuries were caused by another young child.

"The reality is that the degree of force applied was so great that it is quite impossible for the doctors to envisage that it could have been inflicted by a child."

The court heard that Star had suffered a number of "significant injuries at different times during her short life" and was "repeatedly physically assaulted over the weeks and months before her death", including having two fractures to the right shin bone ‘caused by forceful twisting’, a fractured skull and an old brain injury.

"Despite the catalogue of injuries of which we have spoken, at no time was Star taken for medical help other, of course, than that 999 call made in the last hour and 15 minutes of Star’s life," MacDonald told the court.

"It is also the case that social services, who were aware of Star’s case, were kept away from Star."

The jury was also shown video footage, taken from Smith's phone, showing Star being shouted at and forced to stand facing a wall, being roughly handled by Smith, and being forced to stand in the corner.

Smith and Brockhill deny charges of murder and causing or allowing the death of a child.

The trial continues.

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