'Her life is broken': Star Hobson's great grandfather on his visits to jailed Frankie Smith

The great-grandfather of the murdered toddler Star Hobson has spoken about his regular visits to the child's mother in prison.

Frankie Smith is serving a 12-year sentence at New Hall Prison, Wakefield, for causing or allowing Star to die at the hands of Smith's partner, Savannah Brockhill.

The 16-month-old suffered months of abuse before her death at the couple's home, in Keighley, in September 2020.

David Fawcett says he is the only member of the family who regularly goes to see Smith – his grand-daughter – in prison. He believes she committed her crime because she was being controlled by Brockhill.

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

"She was scared of her," he said.

"I think if Frankie had been spoken to on her own we might have got a little bit more of the truth, but she never got the opportunity.

"She is like us, she is broken and her life is over really, that's what she said to me, that she has lost her little Star to a monster.

"She admits that she wasn't a good mother and she went along with a lot of things, she admits she was cruel, but she says she never hurt Star."

Mr Fawcett and his partner looked after Star for several months at one point when Smith said she could not cope.

Star's wider family repeatedly raised concerns about her treatment with social services in Bradford. A new report has found they were "disregarded" and that opportunities were missed to save the toddler.

Star Hobson suffered months of abuse at the hands of her mother and her partner

But the review, by an expert panel, also said that Smith, who was 17 when she became pregnant with Star, was controlled by Brockhill.

The pair eventually cut off all contact with Mr Fawcett and his family.

The report said Smith "changed" after the pair got together and added: "There were also reports that Frankie was seen with bruises, possibly caused by Savannah, and that Savannah seemed to be controlling her."

Mr Fawcett said: "What hurts us is that she had all of us, her family. Frankie could have turned to any of us and got some help but she was just so wrapped up with Savannah. And poor little Star suffered."

David Fawcett at Star's graveside. Credit: ITV News

Mr Fawcett and his family regularly visit Star's grave in Baildon.

He said: "When I'm down there I can talk to Star and talk about the wonderful terms we had whilst she was with us. We looked after her when she was alive, I want to look after her now she's gone as well."

He believes if the family had been listened to Star could have been saved.

"I believe Star could still have been with us if the social services had done their job. This has destroyed our family, I wouldn't want anyone else to go through what we have," he said.

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