A mother accused of murdering her 16-month-old daughter has claimed her partner abused her and that her baby ‘was my whole world’.
Frankie Smith, 20, and her partner Savannah Brockhill, 28, have denied murdering Star Hobson by causing ‘catastrophic’ and ‘non-accidental’ abdominal injuries to the baby at her flat in Keighley, West Yorkshire, on September 22 last year.
Smith told officers in interviews: ‘I loved [Star] more than anything in the world, I’d do anything for her. My money always went on her. Motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me.’
And Brockhill today told a jury at Bradford Crown Court: ‘I loved Star to bits.’
Giving evidence, Brockhill said: ‘Star was born on my mam’s birthday, 21st May, a year after she died, and to me, it was like a little sign from my mam.
Frankie Smith, 20, left, and Savannah Brockhill, right, are accused of murdering Smith’s 16-month-old daughter Star Hobson
‘I looked at Star as if she was my own. I was protective of Star. I would have done anything for Star.’
Brockhill said she was worried Star would be taken away from Smith after her family made complaints to social services about the way the baby was treated.
‘I was not bothered about myself. I had nothing to be scared of,’ she said.
‘I was scared we wouldn’t be able to see Star. I was scared of the baby being removed from her mam.’
Bradford Crown Court earlier heard that pub bouncer Brockhill was violent towards Smith and ‘didn’t know her own strength.’
Transcripts from Smith’s police interviews were read out to the jury. Smith told officers how Brockhill would ‘backhand’ her on numerous occasions and would use controlling behaviour towards her.
Bradford Crown Court heard Star Hobson, pictured, suffered ‘catastrophic’ injuries
But she maintained neither she nor Brockhill caused the death of Star, saying she was in the toilet and Brockhill was in the kitchen when they heard a bang in the living room and found Star on the floor.
In the interview, on September 27, 2020, police officers asked Smith if she was frightened of Brockhill.
She said: ‘A bit. She was bigger than me and would raise her hand at me sometimes.
‘She didn’t like me talking to boys, she’d check my phone without telling me, block or delete people, wanted to know where I was. I didn’t like it.’
Asked if Brockhill stopped her seeing family, Smith replied: ‘Not really.’
Police asked about when Brockhill raised her hand.
Smith (left) told officers in interviews: ‘I loved [Star] more than anything in the world, I’d do anything for her. My money always went on her. Motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me.’ Right: Savannah Brockhill
Smith said: ‘She was good at backhands, she would give me them, it would leave a red mark but not a bruise. She gave me a black eye but it wasn’t a big one.
‘I’d got back in from a night at the pub with my mam, I didn’t tell her when I got home because my phone had died.
‘She turned up at mine and said, ”let me in”, I thought, ”alright I’ll explain it to you”.
‘She came in and she was really mad. She backhanded me in the eyes, I can’t remember what she said.
‘She gave me these two black eyes. She whacked me in the head with a hairbrush a few times, she whacked me on the back with a trainer, it left a mark.
‘This was the worst ever. The next day she came back and said, ”what’s happened to you”, I said, ”you caused it”.
‘She said she didn’t think it would leave a mark. She doesn’t know her own strength.’
She said Brockhill backhanded her ‘three or four times’ and that Brockhill ‘knew what she was doing’.
Smith said Brockhill had to know where she was going and she was ‘a bit’ controlled.
When she tried to end the relationship, ‘Savannah just said, ”alright”, and the next day just thought things would be back to normal’.
She also said there were occasions Star would come back after spending time with Brockhill with bruises, and Star ‘may have been frightened of her’.
Star died from ‘catastrophic, unsurvivable’ ‘non-accidental’ abdominal injuries caused by blunt force trauma.
Smith and Brockhill, both of Keighley, West Yorkshire, deny murder and causing or allowing the death of the toddler.
The trial continues.