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Star Hobson murder: Bradford Council stripped of children’s and social care services

Star Hobson: ‘Pure evil’ murderer of toddler is jailed for life

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The services are set to be placed in a trust, which will be owned by the council but run at “arms-length” under the control of a new independent chair and board of directors. This came after it was revealed that the council was in contact with the family of 16-month-old Star Hobson, before she was killed by her mother’s girlfriend in her home. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said the council was “not meeting its duty” to keep vulnerable children “safe from harm”.

He said he hopes the council will “bring positive change” and “drive improvements”.

Star Hobson suffered weeks of physical abuse before she was fatally assaulted by Savannah Brockhill, her mother’s partner.

Brockhill, 28, was found guilty of Star’s murder and jailed for life, while her mother, Frankie Smith, 20, was convicted of causing or allowing the toddler’s death.

She was given an eight year sentence.

At sentencing, Mrs Justice Lambert said Star’s “short life was marked by neglect, cruelty and injury”.

The 16-month-old was found to have suffered two brain injuries, numerous ribs fractures, the fracture and refracture of her leg, and a skull fracture when she died.

Five different family members and friends raised concerns about Star with local authorities in the eight months leading up to her murder.

Brockhill and Smith told social workers that marks and bruises on the infant were accidental or that the complaints were made maliciously.

A Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review was due to be published before the end of this month to investigate the contact that care agencies had with Star before she was killed.

However, the investigation has been delayed as more work was needed.

A national review has also been launched following the death of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes from Solihull.

Bradford Council’s children’s services department was rated “inadequate” by Ofsted in 2018.

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The decision to hand over Bradford’s care services came after “positive” talks with the council, who had “voluntarily agreed to the move”, the Government said.

Speaking about the decision, Mr Zahawi said: “Keeping vulnerable children safe from harm is non-negotiable.

“Where a council is not meeting its duty to do this, we will take action to protect children and put their needs first.

“It’s clear from the recommendations made by the commissioner in Bradford that the council needs support to improve and so I’m pleased that Bradford Council have agreed to establish a new trust that will bring positive change for the council and independent oversight that drives improvements.

“This is an important moment for children and families in Bradford, and for social workers and other professionals who want to create meaningful and effective relationships with them.”

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