Saturday, 26 Nov 2022

Star Hobson: Call for eight-year sentence of murdered toddler’s mother Frankie Smith to be reviewed

A review of the sentence handed to the mother of Star Hobson for allowing the toddler’s death could be ordered by the Attorney General’s office, a health minister has suggested.

Gillian Keegan said the eight-year term given to Frankie Smith “doesn’t sound enough”, calling the case “shocking” and “unbelievable”.

Smith was jailed for causing or allowing her 16-month-old daughter’s death while her partner, Savannah Brockhill, received a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years for her murder.

The Attorney General’s Office has now confirmed that it has received a request to consider Smith’s sentence under the unduly lenient sentence scheme (ULS).

“The law officers have 28 days from sentencing to consider the case and make a decision,” it said.

The process could result in Attorney General Suella Braverman sending the case to the Court of Appeal for the sentence to be reviewed.

It follows an interview with LBC in which Ms Keegan, whose brief covers care, said: “It’s a shocking, shocking case – I mean, it’s quite unbelievable.

“I mean, obviously the judge and the jury have made their… they recently passed the sentence but, you know, I guess the Attorney General has that power as well. So I don’t know…”

She added: “It doesn’t fit within my remit but it fits within hers (the Attorney General’s), so I’m sure that she’ll be having those conversations.”

The killing of Star and the details of the physical and psychological abuse she was subjected to by her mother and her partner have shocked the nation.

Their convictions came less than two weeks after Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes were sentenced for their roles in the killing of six-year old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

Tustin, Arthur’s 32-year-old stepmother, received a life sentence with a minimum term of 29 years for murder while his father Hughes was jailed for 21 years for manslaughter.

Analysis: The chilling parallels between he two tragic cases

The Attorney General’s office has already confirmed that it will review both their sentences.

Questions continue to be raised by the family of Star Hobson as to why social services did not intervene despite five different family members and friends reporting safety concerns to the authorities in the eight months before she died.

The safeguarding partnership that oversees the agencies that had contact with Star has said that it “deeply regrets” that “not all the warning signs were spotted”.

“We need to fully understand why opportunities to better protect Star were missed,” the Bradford Partnership said.

A review by the organisation into the case will be published next month.

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