A COURT heard today how a mother and her girlfriend allegedly “punched, kicked or stamped” their 16 month old toddler to death.

The trial of Frankie Smith and Savannah Brockhill began at Bradford Crown Court on Wednesday, who are both accused of murdering one-year-old Star Hobson on September 22 last year.

Star’s mother Smith, 20, of Wesley Place, Keighley, and her partner Brockhill, 28, of Hawthorn Close, Keighley, both deny murdering Star, and also deny causing or allowing her death.

It is also claimed the pair caused “a number of significant injuries at different times to Star during her short life”, including a fractured skull, leg and ribs.

Opening the prosecution’s case, Alistair MacDonald QC told the court how paramedics were called to Smith’s flat after receiving a call that Star was “breathing shallowly and had gone floppy”.

They found Star unresponsive on the floor of the flat’s living room, having been sick numerous times, where she was “apparently lifeless, pale and wearing only a disposable nappy”.

Mr MacDonald said: “She was a waxy grey and breathing shallowly and they had concerns for her life.

“She was in need of emergency medical attention from specialist doctors and there was little paramedics could do at the scene, they took Star Hobson to Airedale Hospital by ambulance.

“When they got into the ambulance her breathing stopped and they began CPR. When they did that Star vomited large amounts of brown material. She had also suffered a cardiac arrest.

“Emergency clinicians did everything they could to save her, but they could not and she was pronounced dead later that afternoon aged 16 months.

“The injuries she had suffered were so catastrophic there was no way they could save her.”

A post-mortem examination of Star found she suffered a laceration to the main vein carrying blood back to her heart from the lower body, and also suffered lacerations to her liver and bruises to the lungs and pancreas.

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Mr MacDonald said: “All these injuries were caused by severe and forceful blow or blows caused by punching, kicking or stamping to the abdomen of that 16 month child.

“The impact was immediate, leading to bleeding causing a catastrophic fall in blood pressure and death within minutes.

“It’s no surprise there was nothing medical staff could do to save Star.”

The court heard around half of Star’s blood in her system had leaked into her abdominal cavity as a result of the injuries.

He said that prior to calling 999, the defendants made a “number of Google searches about ‘shock in babies’ and one search read ‘how to bring a baby out of shock’”.

“There was a 15 minute gap between the first search and the call to 999.

“This is a long gap for a child who was seriously injured, and to wait that long to call for help when the child is in a medical catastrophe when any normal care giver would have called in an instant, shows each of these defendants has something to hide.

“It was only when they tried to revive her and failed to do so given the catastrophic, unsurvivable nature of her injuries they called for help.

“Star was killed by intentional injuries by people who intended at the very least to cause really serious harm to this innocent little girl.

“Her death was no accidental death, and this was a case of murder.”

These were not the only injuries to Star found, he added. She also suffered fractures to the lower leg by forceful twisting and broken ribs which were broken again while healing, and a 12 centimetre long fracture to the back of her skull.

Quoting the post-mortem report, Mr MacDonald said: "The injury was caused by blunt force trauma from a punch, kick or stamp.

"The blows were delivered by a severe degree of force, incompatible with being delivered by another child. The doctor said the other children in the flat can be 'confidently excluded' from causing the injuries.

"He found nothing in the flat which could have accidentally caused the injuries, and no explanation was provided by either defendant as to what could have caused the injury.

"Brockhill said she had delivered CPR to Star's abdomen - the wrong area for CPR as it should be done on the chest - but the administering of CPR could not have caused the severity of the injuries.

"The CPR was delivered after she was found unresponsive and collapsed, meaning something else must have caused these injuries, so incorrectly applied CPR could not have caused these injuries."

He added: "This was Brockhill's way of trying to explain away the injuries to the abdomen.

"Only someone who delivered the blows or witnessed them would know she received the fatal injuries to the abdomen. The fatal injuries were caused by these two adult defendants."

The skull fracture was less than 10 days old at the time of Star's death, her leg fracture was no more than four weeks old but had been refractured less than seven days before her death. Her ribs were also broken two to four weeks earlier, but were re-broken anywhere between a few hours and a couple of days before Star's death.

Smith and Brockhill claim they heard a loud bang on September 22 and found Star on the floor in the living room injured, and had no knowledge of other injuries.

Bruises seen in photos and by family were all put down to “falls”, however Mr MacDonald showed video clips which he said showed one instance where Brockhill punched and slapped Star 21 times in one evening.

Other distressing videos were shown of Star being forced to crawl up stairs, stand facing a wall, being dragged through the city centre, being left to fall asleep in a bowl of food, falling out of a chair, being woken with a loud band, which Mr MacDonald said showed ongoing neglect and lack of care for Star.

One clip, of Frankie Smith with Star in Bradford city centre two days before her death, showed Smith appearing to drag Star in a child rein along while Star's head sagged to one side and she struggled to stand, with a second clip showing Star on the floor crying while being filmed by Smith, who then tries to drag her to her feet using the rein like a human puppet.

Mr MacDonald pointed out that at this point Star had a fractured leg, ribs and skull, making it very difficult for her to walk and suffering from a serious concussion.

Statements from family members and friends of Smith said how when they cared for Star she was a "happy, smiley baby" but when she was looked after by Smith and Brockhill she became "withdrawn and appeared depressed".

When they noticed bruising on her face, it was explained away as being from falls. On a day out when food was bought for adults but not Star, when she accidentally bit Smith's friends finger while being fed, Smith bit Star's finger as punishment, it was said.

Smith said Brockhill was controlling and and would beat her, but never saw her harm Star. Brockhill said she loved Star and would never harm her.

The trial continues.