A JURY was told today that unless they are sure beyond reasonable doubt that Savannah Brockhill killed Star Hobson, she must be found not guilty.

In her closing speech representing Brockhill, Kath Goddard QC told the court that co-accused Frankie Smith’s case, casting Brockhill as a controlling, violent killer was an “opportunistic manipulation of the evidence in an effort to save her own skin”.

Brockhill, 28, of Hawthorn Close, Keighley, and Smith, 20, of Wesley Place, Keighley, both deny the murder, and causing or allowing the death, of Star Hobson on September 22, 2020.

Ms Goddard told the court that even Smith’s own family accepted she would lie frequently and told the jury to treat everything she said in evidence “with caution”.

Pointing to Smith changing her story from mirroring that of Brockhill to a new version, pinning the blame on her then-girlfriend, midway through the trial, Ms Goddard accused Smith of “riding on the coat tails of the prosecution”.

On the issue of alleged domestic violence towards Smith by Brockhill raised by Smith’s family, Ms Goddard said this “was only mentioned after Star’s death” and that “anyone’s natural instinct in those circumstances is to blame the only other person for everything” because the alternative is “unforgivable”.

She called evidence from Smith’s family members during the prosecution case a “retrospective realignment, a rewriting of history”.

Looking at the Sun pub punch incident, Ms Goddard said texts from Smith to a barmaid at the pub the day after showed it was “clearly an accident, exactly what Brockhill has said all along”.

Turning to the videos of an exhausted Star falling off a chair and asleep face first in a bowl of food, she said that they were the “kind of videos parents do take, to put on YouTube for a laugh or to embarrass children when they are older”, and it was only with hindsight they are now viewed as “deeply sad and distressing”, and do not indicate a pattern of abuse and cruelty to Star.

On the photo of Star on July 20, when she stayed with Brockhill for the weekend at the Doncaster recycling plant, Ms Goddard suggested there was no way Brockhill could have caused the huge red bruise to Star’s cheek, not visible on CCTV from earlier that day, as “using common sense you conclude she was driving” in the 80 minutes between picking Star up and messages exchanged with Smith about it.

She also asked why, if Brockhill had caused the bruise, would she send a photo of it to a friend and take Star to the hairdressers the following day, and why Smith didn’t do anything when Star was returned.

Turning to the weekend at the recycling plant on September 12/13, all caught on CCTV, Ms Goddard said that other than a bruise to Star’s cheek – which she put down to a fall on a gear stick – there were “no visible injuries” to Star despite 21 alleged blows being received from Brockhill.

She also asked why Brockhill, as a security guard knowing the layout of the plant and position of every security camera, would carry out a sustained assault on a toddler in full view of a CCTV camera.

Focusing on September 22, the day Star died, Ms Goddard said in traumatic situations people react differently; some panic, some freeze, and some – like Brockhill – are practical.

That's why, she said, Brockhill "passed on as much information as clearly and concisely as she possibly could" and sounded calm in the 999 call. and that it "was not a time for cunning".

On the 11 minute delay in calling 999 after the first Google search for "shock in babies", Ms Goddard said there was no visible injury to Star so Smith and Brockhill couldn’t have realised the extent of the injury.

She also questioned Smith’s story about being in the toilet, saying her personal routine for changing sanitary products “is just not how it is done”.

This, she said was Smith again “tailoring her evidence to fit, showing her guile and quick thinking to manipulate the jury”.

She concluded: “You are going away to make decisions about Savannah Brockhill that will have a huge impact not only on her but on the many people connected to Star.

“Please think carefully about all of the submissions we have advanced on behalf of Ms Brockhill.

“We submit that for all of those reasons you cannot be sure that the prosecution case is as simple and as neat as they lead you to believe.

“You cannot be sure Savannah Brockhill is the one who inflicted the fatal injuries to Star. And if you agree with me on that, you must return a verdict of not guilty.”

The trial continues on Monday, with the defence closing speech of Zafar Ali QC, representing Frankie Smith.