Star Hobson: Attorney General refers Frankie Smith’s sentence to court of appeal for being ‘unduly lenient’

Frankie Smith was handed eight years for allowing the death of her daughter Star Hobson who was murdered by her partner Savannah Brockhill

The Attorney General has referred the sentence of Frankie Smith to the court of appeal for being “unduly lenient”.

Smith, 20, was locked up for eight years for allowing the death of her daughter Star Hobson, while her partner Savannah Brockhill, 28, was given a life sentence with at least 25 years for the 16-month-old’s murder.

However, the Attorney General Suella Braverman, announced on Wednesday that she would not be referring Brockhill’s sentence to the court of appeal.

It comes after a request was received by the Attorney General’s Office to consider the sentences under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme.

Star Hobson was murdered by her mum’s partner Savannah Brockhill (top left). Her mum Frankie Smith (bottom left) was convicted of causing or allowing her death.

What did the Attorney General say?

Speaking about the case Attorney General Suella Braverman said: “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. 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.

“Savannah Brockhill was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 years before being considered for parole. As the Sentencing Judge remarked, 25 years is a minimum and she may serve longer. In my opinion, that sentence is not unduly lenient.”

The death of Keighley toddler Star Hobson was among a number of cruelty cases to shock the nation at the end of 2021.

What happened to Star Hobson?

Medics arrived at the flat in Keighley, West Yorkshire., at around 3.49pm on 22 September 2020 and found Star apparently lifeless, pale and wearing only a disposable nappy.

She was rushed to Airedale hospital – just six minutes away - where clinicians did everything they could to save her but she was pronounced dead that afternoon.

Her injuries were described as “utterly catastrophic” and “unsurvivable”.

The injuries that caused Star’s death involved extensive damage to her abdominal cavity “caused by a severe and forceful blow or blows, either in the form of punching, stamping or kicking to the abdomen”.

Social services had been contacted various times by members of Smith’s family.

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

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