Star Hobson’s great-grandfather says social services failed her family

Star Hobson's great-grandfather says social services failed her family

Star Hobson’s great-grandfather David Fawcett has contacted social services who have ‘abandoned’ her (Image: PA/Facebook)

Murdered toddler Star Hobson’s great-grandfather said she and her mother were let down by social services.

Frankie Smith, 20, was jailed last year for causing or allowing the death of her 16-month-old daughter, who was killed by her partner Savannah Brockhill.

Star died in hospital in September 2020 after suffering “extremely catastrophic” and “unsurvivable” injuries at the hands of Brockhill.

A review of the shocking death found Bradford’s social services were “in turmoil” at the time.

A high turnover of social workers and a high workload contributed to “shallow” assessments that did not take into account family concerns, it said.

Stars’ furious great-grandfather David Fawcett, 62, found out the investigation into her case was dropped a week before her death.

“Reading between the lines, they didn’t have the manpower, so they had to close the case — it’s pretty devastating,” he said.


Bouncer Savannah Brockhill convinced social workers that Frankie Smith’s family were maliciously filing complaints (Image: Rex/Shutterstock)

Daily Mail - Collect photo of 16-month-old Star Hobson with her mother, Frankie Smith.

Star Hobson died from “extremely catastrophic” and “unsurvivable” injuries

Mr Fawcett said Smith now only has to rely on herself after serving 12 years in prison.

“It’s still too raw for a lot of the family, a lot of them can’t forgive Frankie, they think she could have done more to save Star and they don’t want to talk to her right now,” he said.

“I spoke to Frankie on Friday and since it’s Star’s birthday she was pretty upset. It’s probably the worst thing I’ve heard from her.

“We’ve always been close, me and Frankie, she was like my daughter, it’s quite heartbreaking. She was abandoned herself, really, she was abused.’

The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel said domestic violence between Brockhill and Smith, who met when Star was five months old, was not assessed.

During her trial, social services were contacted five times by concerned relatives and friends, and the family was also visited by the police.

Undated handout photo issued by West Yorkshire Police of Frankie Smith. Smith's eight-year sentence for causing or allowing the death of her young daughter, Star Hobson, was referred to the Court of Appeals by the Attorney General. Issue date: Wednesday January 12, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story LEGAL Star. Photo credit should read: West Yorkshire Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may be used for editorial reporting purposes only to simultaneously illustrate events, things or people in the photo or facts mentioned in the photo caption. Reuse of the image may require further permission from the copyright owner.

Frankie Smith jailed for causing or allowing her daughter’s death (Image: PA)


David Fawcett said the family tried to warn social services about Brockhill (Image: PA)

Each time, the couple convinced the social worker that Star’s bruises were accidental or that the complaints were maliciously brought forward by friends and family.

Mr Fawcett said he felt vindicated when the report admitted Star’s extended family “was not heard”.

“Savannah Brockhill said it was malicious gossip and they believed her more than us,” he added.

His partner Anita Smith, 70, called social workers in May 2020 after they were told Brockhill would lift Star by the neck and throw her onto a bed.

He said: “When we made the transfer and they went to the house, they should have come to us first to understand why we did it.

“If we were allowed to go into the house that day, Star would probably have been with us today.”

Brockhill, a bouncer and security guard, was found guilty of murder, while Smith was sentenced to eight years in prison, later increased to 12 years.

Bradford Council later had children’s social services removed from its control and turned over to an independent trust.

Janice Hawkes, Independent Chair of the Bradford Partnership, said: “First and foremost, I would like to say that Star’s death should not have happened under such appalling circumstances and we are truly sorry that it happened.

“We know agencies have let Star down and we need to make things right.

“The release of this thorough and detailed independent review very clearly outlines the opportunities we missed on the ground to better protect Star.

“We have already taken steps to address this but we recognize that there is still work to be done and as a partnership we are fully committed to improving the safety of children across Bradford.”

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Justin Scacco

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