STAR Hobson was murdered on September 22, 2020. She was 16 months old.

She died in the flat where she lived with her mother Frankie Smith, a place she should have been safe. A person she should have been safe with.

But it was here, at Wesley Place in Keighley, where she was brutally killed by her mother’s partner, Savannah Brockhill.

A brutal attack, a blow or blows to Star’s abdomen from a punch, kick or stamp, a severe degree of force usually seen in a car crash. Star’s inferior vena cava – the main vein in the lower part of the body – ripped open by the force.

Blood gushed out of the 2cm x 2cm hole, like a hosepipe with a hole in it. Half of the blood in her entire body leaked out into her abdomen. She was dead within minutes, and nothing could have saved her. An attack Smith allowed to happen.

But why? Why was Star murdered in such a vicious, ferocious manner, by someone who told court she loved Star, with her mother in the next room?

This attack on September 22, 2020, wasn’t a one off, it was the final episode in a catalogue of assaults and abusive, cruel behaviour inflicted on Star in the weeks and months before her death.

When she died, Star had a major skull fracture to the back of her head, her tibia had a spiral fracture down its entire length which had recently been refractured, and broken ribs which also had recently been refractured.

Her face, head and body were covered in bruises, she had pre-existing internal injuries to her organs, injuries in her mouth, and likely had suffered a severe concussion less than 10 days earlier.

The injuries told a story of a sustained history of abuse, the causes of which were laid plain by shocking CCTV footage played in court of Savannah Brockhill repeatedly striking Star in her car at a dismal recycling plant where she worked in Doncaster.

The court also saw photos of Star covered in bruises after spending time with Brockhill, injuries forensic pathologist Dr Christopher Johnson said were caused by slaps, pinches, punches.

The first record of this physical abuse seen in court was in July, but the psychological abuse and neglect of Star began long before then.

Because it wasn’t just Brockhill who mistreated Star, Smith’s own legal team said she was a “terrible mother”. She would rather be on her phone or go out drinking every weekend than care for Star, fobbing her off onto anyone who would look after her so she could shirk responsibility for her own personal interest.

But it was when Brockhill and Smith’s relationship began – a turbulent, violence, controlling and obsessive relationship – that things went downhill for Star.

A strict new regime on when she could eat and sleep was enforced, punishments for any wrongdoing saw her forced to stand facing the wall for up to 30 minutes at a time, all for a child barely a year old at the time.

In February 2020, Smith broke down, she couldn’t cope. She rang her grandmother Anita Smith and asked her to take Star. Ms Smith, and her partner David Fawcett, said when they took Star she was depressed, withdrawn, “she’d lost her sparkle”. She’d been neglected by her mother for months.

But with the right love, care and attention it took just days for the real Star to appear; a happy, bubbly baby who loved music and loved to dance. Anita and David adored Star. Smith would visit a couple of times a week.

But then in April, with no warning, Smith took Star back, and that’s when it all went downhill for poor baby Star.

A social services in referral in May made by Anita, concerned about treatment of Star. What came of it? Nothing, except Brockhill and Smith banning her family from seeing Star.

In June, another referral this time by Star’s father Jordan Hobson – whose access to Star dwindled when he and Smith split, and ceased entirely when Brockhill arrived on the scene. Police checked Star over, took her to hospital for a check, but Smith explained away her bruises and the doctor and police bought it.

Same month, videos of Star so exhausted she falls off a chair asleep, she falls face first into her bowl of food. All the women do is film and laugh. A sinister experiment in sleep deprivation on a baby, the prosecution suggested. “How long can your body last without sleep,” Smith Googled.

July 20, Star went to work with Brockhill. Within an hour of leaving Smith’s flat Star had a huge bruise on her cheek, caused by slaps, Dr Johnson said. Cue frantic Google searches by Brockhill on how to get rid of bruising, a phone call secretly recorded by Brockhill in which she gaslights a drunk Smith into blind fury in attempts to keep Star away from her.Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A bruise to Star caused within minutes of being with Brockhill on July 20A bruise to Star caused within minutes of being with Brockhill on July 20

But Star is returned with the bruise, Brockhill says she fell on the bed. Smith buys it. A lucky escape.

The end of August now, Star dumped with babysitter Holly Jones so Smith can go out drinking. Huge bruises on Star’s face and ear that “looked like handmarks”. What does Smith say when handing Star over? Not “hello”, not “have fun Star”. Just “she fell down the stairs that’s why she’s got bruises”.

Holly doesn’t buy it, a video is sent to family members. Smith says it was make up. Nothing is done for Star.

September 12/13, Brockhill again has Star alone at the recycling plant. It’s boiling, sat in a car in an industrial gloomscape for two days with nothing to do. Arguments between Smith and Brockhill. Smith tells her they’re finished. Brockhill is angry. Who’s on the receiving end of that anger? It’s poor baby Star.

A sustained series of attacks over more than two hours, slaps, gripping by the neck, punches, more punches. And what follows? Even more sinister Google searches, “can you die from being winded”.

Jump then to September 22, in Smith’s flat and Brockhill is visiting. Brockhill in the kitchen, Smith and Star in the living room. On her period, Smith goes to the toilet to change her pad.

Then she hears a bang and another child say “oh Star”. She rushes in and what does she see? Brockhill attempting to revive Star, seconds after she’d brutally assaulted her. Thinking on her feet, buying time to try and bring Star round, not realising how bad Star’s injuries truly were, coming up with a story to explain it away as an accident.

A Google search is made for “bringing babies out of shock”. There’s an 11 minute delay between that and 999 being called. Eleven long minutes with no help sought. But by then it’s too late. There’s nothing the paramedics can do when they arrive, they try in vain, as do hospital staff, but it’s too late. Star is dead.

Brockhill cooks up a cover story, neither of them were in the room, it was an accident. Not realising what had happened Smith – an IQ of 70 and highly compliant – goes along with it.

They are arrested for murder. So scared of Brockhill, who repeatedly assaulted her and acted in a coercive and controlling manner throughout their relationship, controlling who she spoke to and having to know where she was at all times, Smith keeps up the charade for more than 12 months until on November 8, 2021, finally realising Savannah Brockhill murdered her daughter, Smith tells the truth.

Following an eight week trial at Bradford Crown Court, Savannah Brockhill, 28, of Hawthorn Close, Keighley, was found guilty of murdering Star Hobson.

Frankie Smith, 20, of Wesley Place, Keighley, was acquitted of murdering her daughter, but found guilty of causing or allowing Star’s death.

They will both be sentenced on Wednesday.