THE mother of alleged killer Frankie Smith took to the stand today to give evidence in the Star Hobson murder trial.

Yvonne Spendley is the mother of Frankie Smith, 20, who is accused of murdering her 16-month-old daughter Star Hobson in September 2020, along with partner Savannah Brockhill, 28.

The court heard how Spendley had raised concerns about the level of routine and discipline enforced on Star once Brockhill came into her life.

She also claimed her daughter Smith was scared of Brockhill and what she might do to her and her family if she ended the relationship.

The court also heard how some members of Smith’s extended family had opposed her relationship with Brockhill due to it being a same-sex relationship and Brockhill having a background in the traveller community.

Standing shaking in the dock, Spendley said initially after Star’s birth she helped Smith with feeding and nappy changing, passing her parenting experience on to her daughter.

She said Smith was still living with her when she commenced her relationship with Brockhill, who she met in a pub where Brockhill worked.

When asked if she say anything between them and Star which concerned her, she said: “Just the discipline side.

“Having a routine of putting her to bed at certain times, mealtimes; it was strict.

“I was a bit concerned, she seemed a bit young to have a routine.”

If Star didn’t follow the rules, she’d “ be put in her cot for being naughty,” she added.

When Brockhill brought children from her family over, “if they’d been fighting about toys it was always Star who got told off,” said Ms Spendley, “they made her face the wall.

“Frankie would be on the phone to Brockhill, and Brockhill would tell her to face the wall.

“I didn’t like it, I thought she was too young, I wouldn’t have done it to my children.”

She also mentioned that Smith and Brockhill would argue and bicker a lot, and that Brockhill enforced the routine and Smith went along with it.

She also told the court of an occasion when Brockhill “punched” Smith in a pub.

“They got into an argument, ended up in the toilets, and as we walked out Brockhill punched Smith in the face, she was holding a bottle.”

Straight after Brockhill and Smith drove off.

Ms Spendley also said she noticed bruising to Smith on two occasions, to her face and to her arms, but Smith said this was from “play fighting” with Brockhill.

On another occasion, Smith had to go to hospital due to a blood clot in her back.

When they discussed the relationship, Ms Spendley said: “Smith did admit that she was scared of her and scared of what she’d do to the rest of our family.

“I said if you don’t want to be with her don’t be with her, just get away from her.

“Frankie said she can’t, because Brockhill used to threaten her and said ‘You’re not leaving me’.

“She said she was scared.”

Ms Spendley said when she noticed bruises on Star’s cheeks, Smith told her she had “fallen down the stairs and hit her head on the bath”.

On their day in Bradford, two days before Star’s death, she added she noticed Star had a limp.

Under cross-examination from Kath Goddard QC, for Brockhill, Ms Spendley admitted there were tensions between her and Smith before Brockhill became involved as she “sometimes had to remind her of her responsibilities as a mother”.

She said when she found out about their relationship, it was immediate she found out about it being same-sex Brockhill’s traveller heritage.

Ms Spendley said this caused tension with Smith’s grandmother Anita Smith, who disapproved of both aspects of the relationship and was “trying to bring it to an end because of this”.

She said she remembered Brockhill playing with Star and buying clothes, food and a pram for Star, and would also give her money for food.

She told the court she never saw anything physical from Brockhill towards Star, and the only violence towards Smith was in the pub.

Ms Goddard also pointed out that Smith still wanted to go out drinking, often with her mother Ms Spendley, rather than look after Star, and would "happily getting anybody she could to look after Star so she could go out",

Ms Spendley said only happened "a couple of times"; Ms Goddard pointed out she also went out with friends on other occasions.

The nights when Star was with Brockhill at the recycling plant, when it's alleged Brockhill struck Star a number of times, Smith was with her mother at The Cricketer's pub in Shipley.

In the morning, the end of the timeline was read out, with paramedics spending just one minute in Smith’s flat before moving Star to their ambulance, where they worked on her for 20 minutes at the scene performing CPR before taking her to Airedale Hospital.

Before heading to hospital, Brockhill went back to the flat and filmed the living room before leaving.

The ambulance arrived at hospital at 4.37pm on September 22 but Star could not be saved, with her death confirmed at 4.59pm.

The next day, searches were made on Brockhill’s phone including ‘spleen trauma grading’ and ‘head injury symptoms’.

When asked if the messages, videos and images included in the timeline were "every item found on the accused's phones or just a selection," police analyst Josie Wright said it was a selection made by officers and lawyers, but if they'd tried to load every piece of data from either phone it would "crash the computer".

Zafar Ali QC, for Smith, read out reports from medical appointments in the first four months of Star's life, prior to the arrival of Brockhill, where Star and Smith were described as having "warm and loving interaction between mother and child".

The trial continues.