The Horrifying Failures Around the Death of Star Hobson

( – Child abuse situations often linger because nobody is willing or able to report the perpetrators to authorities. Such was not the case for little 16-month-old Star Hobson from Bradford, England. Multiple people who loved her made repeated attempts to involve social workers in a bid to save her life that ultimately failed.

Family members and at least one babysitter reported Star’s mother, Frankie Smith, and her girlfriend, Savannah Brockhill, to social services for suspected abuse five times in nine months. Each time, local agencies failed to take action.

Star died on September 22, 2020, after Brockhill punched and/or kicked her, causing fatal internal bleeding that claimed her life.

After a judge convicted Smith and Brockhill, Star’s extended family members each gave a victim impact statement. All said social services failed the toddler from day one.

Social workers apparently ignored photographic evidence of abuse provided by the child’s grandparents and babysitter. Instead, they fell for Smith’s claims that her family was actively punishing her for being in a same-sex relationship. The agency never conducted proper screenings of Star’s injuries; her mother brushed them off as normal and typical for her age.

In reports, officials who visited the home even remarked on how open and cooperative the couple was during the investigations. That bright facade hid a much darker reality for months.

In total, workers say they met with Smith for under an hour. They admit to receiving a total of five reports on the issue from January to her sudden death in September. However, officials continuously overlooked the evidence in the case and asserted that the mother was capable of caring for her daughter safely. That judgment call became a catastrophic failure in a system designed to keep children safe, leading to the senseless death of an innocent baby.

The judge presiding over the case sentenced Smith to a total of eight years behind bars. Brockhill, who was convicted of murder, will serve at least 25 years in prison for her more active role in the crime. Local activists consider the sentences far too lenient; they are asking the Attorney General to intervene.

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