Star Hobson's mother Frankie Smith has sentence increased

  • Watch: Lady Justice Sharp, who chaired the Appeal Court hearing, delivers her judgement

The mother of murdered toddler Star Hobson has had her sentence increased after the Court of Appeal ruled that her original punishment was "unduly lenient".

Frankie Smith, 20, was found not guilty last December of murdering the 16-month-old, but was convicted of causing or allowing her death in September 2020.

She was originally given an eight-year jail term. The maximum sentence for such an offence is 14 years.

Smith's partner, Savannah Brockhill, was convicted of murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years.

Frankie Smith’s former partner, Savannah Brockhill, was found guilty of murdering 16-month-old Star Hobson Credit: West Yorkshire Police/PA

In January Attorney General, Suella Braverman QC, said she believed Smith's sentence was unduly lenient and referred it to the Court of Appeal.

Today, judges agreed and ordered Smith to serve an extra four years in custody, bringing the total sentence to 12 years.

Lady Justice Sharp, who chaired the appeal hearing, said: "The circumstances of Star's treatment at the hands of both of them over a prolonged period of time are harrowing and deeply disturbing."

She added that Smith showed a "consistent pattern of cruelty" towards Star in the months before her death.

Mrs Justice Sharp said Smith's offence was aggravated by her failure to seek medical help for Star in the months before her death and by the "prolonged suffering" of her daughter.

She said: "This was very serious offending of its kind with many culpability factors and aggravating features... There was little if anything to be said in mitigation. In our judgement no lesser sentence than 12 years' custody would meet the justice of this case."

At their trial, a jury heard Smith and Brockhill inflicted "catastrophic injuries" on Star following months of abuse.

The toddler was subjected to "kicking and stamping" as well as a "slam choke" in order to "toughen her up".

On the day she died, 22 September 2020, the toddler vomited large amounts of brown fluid in an ambulance prior to being rushed to hospital. She died soon after, the court heard.

Speaking after today's hearing, the Attorney General said: "This is a tragic and extremely upsetting case and my thoughts are with all those who loved Star Hobson.

"This case involved prolonged and multiple cruelty and neglect, deliberate disregard, and a failure to take any steps to protect or seek assistance for her before and after her murder. 

"No sentence can reverse this tragedy, but I welcome the decision to reflect the gravity of this offending by increasing the sentence today."

She has previously said Brockhill's sentence could not be reviewed as the "threshold" for reviewing was high and had not been met.