STAR Hobson’s great grandfather has said being at the trial into the beloved toddler’s murder has “killed him” over the past eight weeks.

David Fawcett, a postman from Baildon, described the abuse Star suffered at the hands of “thug” Savannah Brockhill and his grand-daughter Frankie Smith as “just evil”.

Yesterday, Savannah Brockhill, 28, was jailed for life for Star’s murder, with a minimum term of 25 years.

Smith, 20, was jailed for eight years for allowing the death of her 16-month-old daughter.

After giving heart-breaking evidence at the beginning of the trial, David was ever-present in the public gallery, seeing and hearing harrowing evidence of how Star was abused, beaten, and eventually murdered.

On the sentences handed down by Mrs Justice Lambert, he said while shocking he knew what was coming.

“It was to be expected for Savannah, 25 years, especially after the Arthur Labinjo-Hughes trial,” he said.

“With Frankie, some people were saying she’d get up to 14 years so I was hoping for something a bit less, between five and 10, and she got eight years.

“It’s still a shock; eight years, but it was expected when she got that charge.”

David and his long-term partner Annetta Smith looked after Star for about 10 weeks from February to April 2020 when Smith couldn’t cope.

The time since her death, and in particular the last eight weeks, have been very painful for David and the family.

He said: “It’s been very stressful and heart-breaking; we lost Star and then have had to go through all this.

“We knew the trial was going to be tough, but it’s just not having Star with us; we adored her.

“It’s all come to this, the shock of seeing some of the things I’ve seen in court.

“It really upset me, it killed me, I didn’t think someone would do that to a little baby of that age, it’s just evil really.”

David has stuck by Smith since Star’s death, but admitted the things he saw and heard in court were shocking. However, he believes her actions were because she was under the control of Savannah Brockhill.

“For Frankie, she could have got Star out of that situation, that’s what shocked us.

“She had us all around her, she could have rang me any time, it was the fact she was isolated, our phones were blocked and we couldn’t get in touch, I didn’t even know where she lived.

“It was a situation Savannah had put her into, but Frankie could have got Star out of that situation and that’s why a lot of people are not happy with her.

“Savannah coming on the scene was absolutely devastating, we noticed she was abusing Frankie, that was the upsetting thing.

“I’ve known Frankie since she was born and seeing her with bruises was really upsetting; I asked her why she was putting up with it, but she’d laugh it off and say it was play-fighting.

“After we had that little spell where we had Star, suddenly Frankie’s siblings would say Savannah was hurting Star, slam choking her, dangling her by one leg above her cot, threatening to shave all her hair off, that’s when Annetta said she was ringing social services.

“It was bad enough seeing Frankie abused, we didn’t want Star going down the same path.

“Savannah was definitely controlling, coercive. There were definitely more than three incidents of domestic violence.

“Every time I saw Frankie between November and that day when we took Star, she was never free of bruises.

“It was regular, all over her neck, arms, legs, covered in bruises, it was ridiculous. I knew Savannah was thug really.”

He still talks to Frankie despite what has happened, but did say she has been cut off by some of the family

“I do talk to Frankie, she rings me, we send letters, but it’s just… you know… I’ll always be there for her.

“She was like my granddaughter, we did everything together; cycling, going to shows, she came to my son’s wedding in Spain, it’s just heartbreaking it’s come to this.

“For 18 years she was perfect, she lived with us for two years in her teens, there were no problems, and then Savannah came on the scene and everything changed and we’ve lost Star and it’s just unbelievable really, I never thought I’d be in this position.

“With certain members the relationship is irreparable, a lot of family members won’t go see her, they don’t write to her, if she’s on the phone they don’t want to know.

“Or they’ll say, ‘what are you off to see that murderer for?’ and stuff, so I keep it quiet if we’ve made arrangements to visit. As soon as they hear wherever I go I get abuse.

“It is nice to see her when I go, she cries over Star. She says she should have listened, she should have got away, she never thought for a moment Savannah would hurt Star.

“She saw the bruises but she never thought, Savannah always had an explanation, but then it got critical and it was just obviously too late.”

For David and the family now it is about remembering Star and cherishing the memories they made, in particular the 10 weeks she spent with David and Annetta.

“It was brilliant, she was fantastic. Frankie asked us to take Star, she was really upset,” he added.

“At first Star looked depressed, looking at the floor. Within a couple of days she was smiling and her character was coming out.

“She listened to music, was into everything, just loved it. I couldn’t wait to get home from work to see her. That’s what I’ll remember.”