An eight-year prison sentence given to Frankie Smith for causing or allowing the death of her baby girl star Hobson has been sent to the Court of Appeals by the Attorney General.
Euella Braverman said the case was “tragic and extremely disturbing” and believes Smith’s sentence was “unnecessarily lenient”.
But she said she could not recommend any increase in the sentence imposed on Smith’s former partner, Savannah Brockhill, who was sentenced to at least 25 years in prison.
The Attorney General said: “I can challenge a sentence only if it is not only lenient, but unreasonably so, as if the judge who sent the sentence made a great mistake or was reasonably in the circumstances of the crime.” Punished outside the range of available sentences.
“The threshold is a high one, and the test was not completed in this case.”
Brockhill, 28, and Smith, 20, were sentenced at Bradford Crown Court last month, a fortnight after Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes were jailed for murdering six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes under similar circumstances.
Like Smith, his cases were referred by the attorney general to the Court of Appeal amid public outcry over the crimes and the injuries inflicted on his young and vulnerable victims.
Announcing her decision on Smith’s sentencing on Wednesday evening, Ms Braverman said: “This case will have upset anyone reading about it, but my job is to decide that based on the facts of the case.” A sentence appears to be too short or not.
“I have carefully considered the details of this case, and I have concluded that I may refer Frankie Smith’s sentence to the Court of Appeal because I believe it to be unreasonably lenient.
“However, I have concluded that I cannot refer to the conviction of Savannah Brockhill.”
She said: “Savannah Brockhill was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 25 years before being considered for parole.
“As the sentencing judge remarked, 25 years is the minimum and she can serve much longer. I don’t think that sentence is unnecessarily lenient.”
Prosecutors told a two-month trial that Starr was taken to hospital on September 22, 2020, from the flat he lived with Smith in Wesley Place, Keighley, but his injuries were “completely devastating” and “non-existent.”
Jurors were told that Smith’s family and friends had grown to fear that they had seen bruises on the little girl in the months before her death.
In each case, Brockhill and Smith managed to convince social workers that the points were accidental or that complaints were made by people who did not like their relationship.
Sentencing Brockhill and Smith, Judge Mrs Justice Lambert said Starr’s “young age was marked by neglect, cruelty and injury”.
It was found that when he died he had two brain injuries, multiple rib fractures, a fracture and refraction of his leg, and a fracture of the skull.
A date for the Court of Appeal hearing has not yet been confirmed.