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Star Hobson murder: Toddler’s mother could face longer sentence as review looms

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

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Star, aged just 16 months, tragically died in 2020 after suffering “catastrophic” abdominal injuries at the hands of her mother’s partner. The partner, Savannah Brockhill, 28, was jailed for a minimum of 25 years for murder. Star’s mother, Frankie Smith, 20, was sentenced to eight years for causing or allowing her death.

But Smith’s sentence has been referred to the Court of Appeal after being branded “unduly lenient”.

Suella Braverman, the Attorney General for England and Wales, announced her decision on Wednesday.

She said: “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.”

Ms Braverman added that the case was “tragic and extremely upsetting”.

The trial at Bradford Crown Court lasted for seven weeks.

Jurors heard how the toddler suffered both physical and psychological abuse by those who were supposed to love and protect her.

They also learnt that, around the time Star’s injuries were sustained, Brockhill made numerous horrifying Google searches.

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Included among these were “sickening after blunt trauma” and “what can snap an ankle”.

While Ms Braverman has found reason to put Smith’s sentence up for a review, she has decided that Brockhill’s is fit for purpose.

She said: “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.

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“The threshold is a high one, and the test was not met in this [Brockhill’s] 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.”

A date for the Court of Appeal hearing on Smith’s sentence is yet to be set.

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