She speaks without any sign of sorrow. Nor does she sound remotely afraid, rubbishing a recent report that a fellow inmate scalded her with ‘prison napalm’ — boiled water infused with sugar to exacerbate the pain.

The woman on the phone was convicted last month of a crime of unmitigated terror — the murder of 16-month-old Star Hobson, a beautiful little girl whose twinkling blue eyes befitted her name.

After spending weeks researching the truth behind the appalling attack on Star, I imagined that Savanna Brockhill would be pleading for her life in Styal prison in Cheshire. She is currently serving a term of at least 25 years.

However, since being in jail, I discovered that she spent thousands on presents for her family. Two of her young nephews have received diamond-studded Rolexes costing £9,000.

When her family unexpectedly offers me the opportunity to speak with her, the ex-boxer with Olympic ambitions seems as relaxed as she used to be when she worked as a bouncer. 

According to her, cleaning in prison is what she does. The room she has is hers, complete with TV and wardrobe. There are also washing facilities.

It’s located around woods, stuff, so birds, squirrels come, and it’s beautiful to see. It’s not cruel.

DAVID JONES: I imagined Savanna Brockhill (pictured) would now be cowering remorsefully in her cell at Styal prison, in Cheshire, where she is serving life with a minimum term of 25 years

DAVID JONES: Savanna (photo) might be now hiding in Styal prison in Cheshire. She is currently serving a life sentence with a maximum term of 25.

Anyone who was a part of Brockhill’s 7-week trial at Bradford Crown Court will be able to see the irony in this final remark.

One was left wondering if she still had a sliver of humanity after the story unfolded.

In November 2019, while working the door at a raucous drag-queen and karaoke bar, popular with Bradford’s gay and lesbian community, Brockhill, then 26, claims one of the revellers began flirting with her — a waif-like girl, eight years her junior, with model looks and luxuriant black hair.

Frankie Smith had been with her boyfriend on that night. They exchanged contact information and they became lovers within two weeks. 

Brockhill was unaware that Smith was Smith’s single mother with a baby six months old. 

As the trial judge pointed out, the beautiful little girl got caught up in the conflict between Smith and Brockhill.

Star’s short life was marked with neglect, cruelty, and injury. This Mrs Justice Lambert explained to Star, the two women who were separated in the dock as they have come out of their mutual hatred.

DAVID JONES: The woman on the phone was convicted last month of a crime of unmitigated terror — the murder of 16-month-old Star Hobson (pictured), a beautiful little girl whose twinkling blue eyes befitted her name

DAVID JONES: The woman on the phone was convicted last month of a crime of unmitigated terror — the murder of 16-month-old Star Hobson (pictured), a beautiful little girl whose twinkling blue eyes befitted her name

The little girl was killed when Brockhill kicked or punched her in the stomach — with all the force of a crashing car, according to a medical expert. While doctors tried to save her they discovered that half of her blood supply had drained into her abdomen. This caused damage to her liver as well as her pancreas, kidneys, and liver.

Star suffered multiple serious injuries by that time, including skull, rib and leg fractures.

The toddler was unable to stand so the couple made her face the wall. She was taken terribly by the couple, who filmed from various angles while she lay in bed, fell asleep, hit her head on concrete, and took video of their abuse.

Brockhill put the video to music, and then sent the clip to his friends along with the caption “I have laughed so hard.”

Smith, who was involved in the depravity that led to her daughter’s suicide, was sentenced and served just eight years. According to me, Smith has covered her New Hall prison cell in Wakefield with Star pictures and speaks about Star like she’s still alive.

Smith can be exonerated under the early-release system by the time she turns 24. The Attorney General ordered Smith’s sentence to be reviewed, as she believes it is too light. This news, according to her relative, has caused her grief.

She will likely be more upset to hear that Brockhill plans to appeal her conviction based on the fact that Smith, although accidentally, dealt the fatal blow.

Collect picture of Savanna Brockhill from Morecambe with Star Hobson

Take a picture of Savanna Brockhill, Morecambe’s Star Hobson

During our two lengthy interviews (for which she, of course, received no payment), she quoted — no doubt selectively — extracts from 4,000 documents which, she claims, could help prove her ‘innocence’. The evidence in court and acceptance by jury and judge of Brockhill’s claims contradict Brockhill.

These two miserable women are enough for now. Star was left in the clutches of Bradford’s children’s services department. Their breath-taking incompetence, made worse by political correctness, I will explain.

Alerted to the little girl’s injuries by concerned friends and family members on five occasions between January 23 and September 22, 2020 — when Star was murdered in her mother’s flat — they had ample opportunity to remove her to a place of safety.

Bradford Council has promised an independent review, however, I have been exposed to the damning reports that exposes the blinded dogma behind social workers’ and other official’s flawed judgment.

The children’s department received Star’s abuse by Anita Smith’s great-grandmother and requested that a social worker be sent to evaluate Brockhill. 

They found ‘nothing concerning’, and their report also praised Star’s ‘positive relationship’ and her care.

Brockhill was deemed to have been ‘exceptionally well’ with the baby who appeared ‘contented and happy’.

According to the report, Mrs Smith had raised concerns after she saw photos of Star’s bruises. She ‘appeared struggling with Frankie’s same-sex relationship and Frankie’s decision not to contact her about Star’.

The concerns of this caring woman — who had taken Star into her home for ten weeks when her mother couldn’t cope — were dismissed as a ‘malicious referral’. Without Mrs Smith being interviewed, the case was closed.

Star passed away less than three years later.

Frankie Smith with her girlfriend Savanna Brockhill

Frankie Smith and Savanna Brockhill, her girlfriend

Social services missed five opportunities to stop Star’s killers in the months before her death on September 22, 2020, a court heard

Social services missed five opportunities to stop Star’s killers in the months before her death on September 22, 2020, a court heard 

Members of the Smith family say the children’s services department also failed to properly investigate the case because Brockhill — in her own words — is a gipsy. The Smith family were thought — without justification — to be prejudiced against travellers.

Brockhill’s family and friends are playing the prejudice card from a different perspective, which is a great irony. She claims that her ethnicity was the reason she was charged with the murder and not Frankie Smith.

Her father Daniel (53), claims that the prosecution pointed out from the beginning that Daniel’s daughter was a gipsy.

Brockhill sells horses and pedigree dogs, as well as caravans. He lives in Lancashire with Hollie, his wife, and their youngest children, in an immaculate, newly built home.

The trial transcripts don’t support his claims. In the opening speech of the prosecutor, Brockhill’s history is not mentioned. Brockhill, in fact, was the one who said that she is an English gipsy and proudly spoke of her heritage when she was cross-examined.

Star Hobson has decorated her tiny grave with flowers, balloons and toys. As I stood next to it, last week under the slate-grey Pennine sky, my 2-year-old granddaughter thought about her life.

Born in Bradford Royal Infirmary, at 6.56am, on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, Star weighed a healthy 7lb 7oz — and though feeding difficulties kept her in hospital for her first two weeks, she was utterly adorable. 

Frankie Smith wasn’t yet 18 and was too young to rely on Jordan Hobson for long-term support. However, she appeared as happy as any mother.

“Frankie called me moments after giving birth and was all over the place, excited. She said, “I have her!” “Frankie called me a few moments after the birth, all excited, and said: “I’ve had her!”,” recalls David Fawcett as Frankie’s long-term partner. He was one of only a handful of characters who have emerged with credit in this story.

Frankie, Star, and Yvonne Spendley lived together after they left the hospital. Family members helped to change nappies and feed them.

Frankie initially called her Esme. But after several weeks, she changed her name to Star after the beguiling vampire from 1980’s horror film The Lost Boys.

Star's mother Frankie Smith, 20, was cleared of murder, but found guilty of causing or allowing the death of a child at Bradford Crown Court after three days of deliberation

Savannah Brockhill, 28, was on Tuesday convicted by a jury unanimously of the murder of Star Hobson, who was abused for months before her death.

Star’s mother Smith, (left), was cleared of the murder charge but found guilty for causing or permitting death to a child. A jury unanimously convicted Brockhill of murder

She was a charming toddler who we don’t know much about. Peppa liked to cuddle up on the sofa and watched cartoons with her dad.

Star was killed shortly after Smith, who had sat next to her in the hospital, made some comments about Smith’s character.

Photos and videos show that Star was able to have some fun with those who tortured her. Brockhill captured one photo of Star playing on Morecambe’s beach in a beautiful pink dress, with matching blonde hair and a matching bow.

Such images serve only to make her maltreatment more incomprehensible — as do the many testimonies I heard from Brockhill’s friends and family members whose small children she looked after.

Scarlett (sister to Scarlett), 30, looked after her sons Brockhill. She couldn’t have been more caring second mother.

Another woman who worked with Brockhill — in the care industry of all places — said she would leave her three children with her, and even entrusted her to be the godmother to her infant daughter.

The persistent question is: Why did Smith and Brockhill turn against Star? Frankie Smith’s surrogate grandfather David Fawcett said that nothing she did in her childhood suggested she would be the “cruel, callous” mother described by the trial judge.

In Shipley West Yorkshire’s Maisonette, he looked at her early photographs and realized that she was a somewhat unworldly young girl.

He told me that his childhood was wonderful. She was fond of musicals. We took her to old musicals like Jersey Boys and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The 1970s band Sugar Baby Love had a huge hit and The Rubettes was her obsession. She loved Alan Williams as her lead singer even though he was too old to be her granddad.

Star was taken to hospital from the flat where she lived with Smith in Wesley Place, Keighley, but her injuries were ‘utterly catastrophic’ and ‘unsurvivable’, prosecutors said

Star was taken to hospital from the flat where she lived with Smith in Wesley Place, Keighley, but her injuries were ‘utterly catastrophic’ and ‘unsurvivable’, prosecutors said

This point has resonance. Frankie told Brockhill that Star killed her because she ripped up a valuable souvenir, a Rubettes concert tickets autographed in by her idol. This trivial act could have been the trigger for the vicious attack.

Smith’s low intelligence and premature maturity were the highlights of her defense at trial. According to Mr Fawcett, she played with dolls even into her teens.

She wasn’t like most girls her age and never went to the pubs.

All sounds innocent. As the conversation progresses, however, darker secrets about our families begin to slip away.

Frankie Smith’s father, Andrew — who died of a drug overdose in June last year — was a heroin addict who spent much of his time locked in his room.

He had a difficult relationship with his daughter, and she moved in with Anita Fawcett and Fawcett between the ages 14-16.

Frankie was raised by Yvonne (Frankie’s mom), who continued caring for Andrew, her five children and the youngest, aged five. Star was born and Frankie, Yvonne’s mother, began to go on ‘on benders’ until the early mornings, leaving Star, and all the children, with babysitters.

If we believe Savanna Brockhill — and that’s a big if — the Smith household was chaotic long before she came on the scene.

The Attorney General previously asked the Court of Appeal to increase Star Hobson’s mother’s ‘unduly lenient’ eight-year jail sentence

The Attorney General previously asked the Court of Appeal to increase Star Hobson’s mother’s ‘unduly lenient’ eight-year jail sentence 

Brockhill could not be further from the truth. Brockhill was born into a large gipsy family with prize-fighting (licensed and bare-knuckle in their blood), her paternal grandfather is Tyson Fury, the father of World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury. 

I was shown a photo of Savanna with her father and the Gypsy King boxer. She and her sister Scarlett are wearing impressive mink coats Mr Brockhill had made for them, each costing £5,000.

Certainly, the Brockhills have done very well for themselves, with a £1.5 million compound in Lancashire replete with luxury caravans and chalets.

Daniel Brockhill said, referring to Frankie Smith’s mother, “We’re not dossers. People who have left their children to go to pubs.” We work, and we pay tax. Our opinions aren’t important because we’re gipsies.

Although they claim that some neighbors are predisposed towards them, I found them to be unfailingly kind and courteous during my long time with them.

Savanna Brockhill, like many other traditional traveller girls left school when she was ten to prepare for her life as a homemaker. However, she excelled at boxing and martial arts and her father says she was offered a £1,500-a-month grant to train full-time with the British women’s boxing team. A car accident at the age of 19 which injured her spine, ended her hopes for Olympic success.

By then she had already confessed her sexual preference for women — a huge taboo in the gipsy community — to her father. Her older brothers learned of her secret during the murder trial, and he accepted it.

Brockhill was a home-carer until her 20s. She earned a lot of money by becoming a bar bouncer then later, and eventually, as a security dog handler.

She also bred Staffordshire terriers, and her father reckons she could clear £8,000 a month.

Nobody I spoke with admitted to witnessing the uncontrollable temper that she described in court. It was an angry anger so extreme, five years back, that she was reported to have sought help from a doctor.

According to her sister, she was convicted of throwing an egg at a neighbor with whom she had argued.

However, from social media I have uncovered a chilling video — filmed, as so often, by Brockhill herself — that reveals how she can snap when rage consumes her.

As she holds her cellphone aloft, Brockhill hurls threats and expletives at the attackers. Brockhill appears to be unaware of the fact that Brockhill was called by police to her home and is visible on the video.

Frankie Smith is the one who hates Savanna and Frankie most, since they both blame Star for Star’s death.

According to Brockhill, Smith was a unstable fantasyist. Star was Star’s younger brother, which she initially claimed.

No appeal was made against the sentence of Frankie Smith’s girlfriend Savannah Brockhill, who will spend at least 25 years behind bars for murder

No appeal was made against the sentence of Frankie Smith’s girlfriend Savannah Brockhill, who will spend at least 25 years behind bars for murder  

From prison, she says that their relationship was truly on-off. “She was really bad at drinking. Her personality was described as schizophrenic. One minute she might be fine, and then, suddenly, she’d start to do something.

Brockhill says Smith’s moods change depending on her hairstyle. Brockhill adds that while Smith might be fine with her hair tied up, her mood would change if it was pulled to her sides. Star is the only child of her family.

She also scoffed at Smith’s claim of having a low IQ. Smith said she ‘excelled in maths and English’, which is again contrary to what was presented at court.

Smith would often tell people that they had been married. She also said that Star was their daughter. Brockhill was even listed under her name in her birth record. She also had her name tattooed on the forearm with the name “Savanna”.

All this is a strong indication that Smith was obsessed, according to the Brockhill family.

Frankie’s partner, Mr Fawcett paints a different picture. He claims that Brockhill was jealous of Frankie and used Star to control her.

And this, according to my investigations, is the true story. Within weeks of Brockhill’s arrival in her life, Smith was talking like a gipsy — using words such as ‘mam’ and ‘baba’ — and dressing Star as a traveller child. However, things became increasingly sinister.

David Fawcett said that Star was determined to stop Star from using dummies. One day Brockhill grabbed all six of Star’s comforters and cut the ends. Brockhill, who was enamored by Star’s beautiful blonde curls and took Star to the barber to trim her hair. She brought Star home with a shorter back and side.

Between these, punishments began. Right and wrong are alien concepts to children a few months old, but if Star was perceived to have misbehaved, she would hear the shout: ‘Get over there and face that wall — now!’

Mr Fawcett says Smith’s younger siblings would describe Brockhill grabbing Star roughly and ‘slam-choking’ her — a wrestling technique where an opponent is grabbed by the throat and hurled to the canvas.


Star Hobson was just 16-months old when Star was murdered at her Keighley home, West Yorkshire. Below are some key moments in her short existence:


May 21,Star Hobson is now a reality

November: Savannah Brockhill and Frankie Smith start a relationship.


January 23rd – Holly Jones (Smith’s friend) makes contact with social workers to discuss concerns regarding domestic violence, Star and the time that she has left caring for her. Star is visited by police and social workers, but there are no complaints.

Star moves to Baildon in Bradford with David Fawcett, her great-grandparents. Star has been told by Smith that she is splitting with Brockhill.

April 26, 2006 – Anita Smith takes Star from her house and she moves it to Brockhill.

May 4th – Anita Smith contacts Social Services after being told of Brockhill’s’slam-choking Star.

June – David Fawcett posted a photo of Star with bruises and captioned it on Facebook with the caption “From this to that in five weeks,”

June 21st – Star’s father Jordan Hobson calls social services. Star’s father Jordan Hobson contacts social services to arrange for Star to be examined by the police. Smith said that Star had hit her face against a coffeetable.

June 23, 2009 – A friend from the Smith family calls social services to voice concerns.

August 14th – Anita Smith, David Fawcett, and Frankie Smith will see Star and Frankie for the final time.

August 28, 2008 – David Fawcett receives a video from Star, who is bruised and faces Brockhill.

September 2, 2008 – Frank Smith (another Star’s greatgrandfather), contacts social services following seeing video footage of the bruised youngster. Social workers pay an unexpected visit.

September 15th – The case is closed by social services after the conclusion of the referral as’malicious.

September 22, 2012 – Star, who was seriously hurt at Wesley Place in Keighley and later dies in hospital.


December 14, 2014 – A trial at Bradford Crown Court has concluded. Brockhill is convicted in Star’s Murder, while Smith is convicted for causing or allowing death to the toddler.

Brockhill was not told by her to take her bag with him.

He claims that her family was terrified of her. Frankie is the most particular, as her bruises showed what she could do. Frankie, who was financially strapped, would buy Star-priced clothes and pay for the meals.

Hollie Jones (16 years old) was the young and courageous babysitter who made Star’s first referral to social service. On January 23, 2020, this was done. According to reports, the police visited Smith’s home but did not raise any concerns. Smith did not respond to social workers’ calls three days later.

Now you may wonder why Star Hobson’s father Jordan Hobson did not intervene. He was at Star’s birth. However, Smith and Smith were only together for a brief time.

His course at Sunderland University was resumed and he only saw his child on a few occasions. Back at college, Hobson’s own violent temper — which, in yet one more irony, had been flagged up as a risk to Star by the social services — came to the fore.

His new girlfriend was attacked with a bucket and mop, an offense that earned him an 18 month community order.

The questionable girl, who did not want to be identified, shared what she knew about Star’s absentee parent.

“Jordan said that the relationship was not working out for them.” [with Frankie Smith]She said that Jordan had slept with one her friends and they were now apart. It didn’t appear to Jordan that he had serious concerns regarding Star’s treatment.

To be fair, Hobson was in his 20s when he saw a photo of Star with bruising on Facebook. This was only the third of these referrals.

However, Smith and Brockhill claimed she had bumped herself, and when the police took her to be examined at Bradford Royal Infirmary, the doctor — who had just four months’ experience in child safety — decided this was a reasonable explanation for her injuries.

And so, Star’s unspeakable suffering went on, broken only for those ten merciful weeks, between February and April 2020, when Smith — embroiled in another self-absorbed drama with her girlfriend — entrusted Star to the care of her grandmother Anita Smith and her partner, David Fawcett. This was where the little girl temporarily flourished.

We will never know exactly what happened on the afternoon of September 22, 2020, when Brockhill — having bizarrely just ordered a £750 diamond signet ring for Star’s first Christmas present — stopped off at Smith’s rented second-floor flat, accompanied by an infant nephew and niece.

If she secures her appeal, it will be Brockhill’s contention that it was Smith who kicked out at Star to stop her following her to the bathroom and caught her in the stomach — a scenario that surely doesn’t begin to explain her catastrophic injuries.

Assuming she was right, I question why she did not say that in court. ‘Love? Loyalty?’ Savanna Brockhill’s father isn’t surprised that he wants to persuade his daughter about her innocence.

Brockhill provides a less dramatic explanation. She says her lawyers advised her not to blame Smith because she could be accused of lying in order to free herself from the responsibility.

Star said, “I loved Star and she was my best friend. But in the end I felt more connected to her.” [that she stayed with Smith]I told her. Star is my favorite, especially because she was born on the 21st May, which happens to be the birthday of my mother. Her bluest eyes were the most beautiful you have ever seen. She just wanted to be a child.

“I learnt” [sic]She’d go Round And Round The Garden and would just want to get it done. My fingers would be her bedtime companion. I was her constant support.

It is hard to hear this woman who wants to be self-serving without feeling disgusted, if I think back to the visit to that small grave.

Baby Star was treated unfairly on many fronts and the forthcoming review of her case is no surprise. However, this sad tale can be used to remind us that we should never allow political correctness to overtake a child’s rightful life.