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Bradford council admits it ‘let Star down’ as mother and partner jailed

Saying they needed to “understand why opportunities to better protect Star were missed”, they added they “deeply regret” missing warning signs that could have saved her life.

Bradford council has admitted it ‘let Star down’ and that warning signs were missed, as her mother and partner were jailed following the toddler’s tragic death.

In a joint statement released today by the Bradford Partnership – Working Together to Safeguard Children (Bradford Council, Bradford District and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group, and West Yorkshire Police), officials called her death “devastating” and said there was ‘much to learn’.

Saying they needed to “understand why opportunities to better protect Star were missed”, they added they “deeply regret” missing warning signs that could have saved her life, reports The Telegraph and Argus.

The statement also referenced another recent tragic case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, which has made headlines in recent weeks and spurred calls to serve life imprisonment sentences to child murderers.

Star Hobson’s mother, Frankie Smith, and her partner, Savannah Brockhill, have been found guilty of the toddler’s murder following months of physical abuse. They will be sentenced on Wednesday.

During the trial, a jury heard the toddler from infant from Keighley was subject to abuse including punching, kicking and stamping in the weeks leading to her tragic death.

The full statement from the Bradford Partnership – Working Together to Safeguard Children said: “We want to say first and foremost that we’re sorry for the death of Star.

“This was a child’s life cut cruelly short. Two people have been brought to answer for their crimes – one has been convicted of murder and one of causing or allowing the death of a child.

“Anyone who has followed the trial will want to know what more could have been done to help protect Star. As agencies who have a joint responsibility to protect children, this has been at the forefront of our minds.

“Any death of a child, wherever it happens, is one death too many, but this happened in our district, in our community and has had a devastating impact.

“We are very aware as partners that there is much that we need to learn from this case. We have already put in place actions that will improve our practice so that we learn those lessons. But we need to fully understand why opportunities to better protect Star were missed.

“We must also learn everything we can from the awful murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. A national review has been established to enable this to happen. If we can contribute our learning to this review, we will do.

“We offered support and assistance to Star’s family for what we believed their needs to be, at that given time, but we all deeply regret that not all the warning signs were seen that could have led to firmer statutory enforcement action.

“A Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review is being written by an independent author. This is almost complete and, now the trial is concluded, the review will be finalised and published in January 2022. It will provide partners and colleagues in our district and across the country with clear recommendations so we can better protect children in our care.”

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