News State Queensland QLD ‘Monster’: Family reveals mother’s struggle before horrific murders
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‘Monster’: Family reveals mother’s struggle before horrific murders

baxter family
Hannah Clarke died from her injuries just hours after her estranged husband burned his family alive. Photo: Facebook
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Hannah Clarke’s grieving dad – who lost his daughter and three grandchildren in the suspected murder-suicide attack in Brisbane – says the children’s dad was ‘scum’ who will rot in hell.

Ms Clarke’s family have also revealed ex-husband Rowan Baxter, 42, abducted one of his children on Boxing Day and had been ordered by police not to come within 20 metres of his estranged wife.

Lloyd Clarke, the father of Hannah, said his former son-in-law was “a monster”.

“The scum rots in hell,” Mr Clarke said on social media.

“If he truly loved them he would not have killed his children in such a horrible way.

“He might have said he cared and loved his children but I know it was always about him coming first,” he said.

Ms Clarke, 31, died on Wednesday night, after her children, Aaliyah, 6, Lainah, 4 and Trey, 3 were burned alive when their father ambushed the family with a knife and poured petrol on them as they headed off on the morning school run.

Neighbours say an agitated Mr Baxter tried to stop residents from rescuing the children from the burning car in the suburban street before stabbing himself. He died at the scene.

One witness told The Courier Mail that Ms Clarke screamed “he’s poured petrol on me” as she rolled on the ground after escaping the driver’s seat.

Another neighbour said she yelled “my children are in the car, save my children”.

The tragedy unfolded just a street away from the home of Mr Clarke and his wife, Sue.

She had been living with them since fleeing the Baxter family home before Christmas.

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The Baxter children: Lainah, 6, Trey, 3, and Aaliyah, 4. Photo: Facebook

Police had previously been called to a family violence incident involving the family in January.

Ms Clarke’s brother, Nathaniel Clarke, said his sister was murdered by a “heartless monster” who was locked in a custody battle with his ex-wife.

“Yesterday I had my sister, nephew and two nieces taken from me in the worst way possible by a heartless monster they called their dad,” Mr Clarke wrote.

“Everyone who has been lucky enough to be a part of their lives would know just how sweet and loving these kids and my sister really were.”

“The last thing my sister said to my wife was ‘I’m so excited this year will be great’.

“I will forever love you all.”

Hannah Clarke died in hospital on Wednesday night. Photo: Facebook

Family friends have also shared text messages revealing how Ms Clarke was living in fear after the abduction.

In a series of messages obtained by The Courier-Mail, she told a family member she believe she was now ‘safe’.

“I’m so glad I got out when I did,” Ms Clarke wrote.

“I’m OK, struggling, but I know I’ve made the right decision.

“I’m safe, I’m with my parents who are very, very normal. I’m just so glad I got out when I did. And I’m so glad you reached out to me.”

Stacey Roberts, the wife of Ms Clarke’s brother, has set up an online fundraising page to help cover the funeral costs for Ms Baxter and her three children, which has now raised $40,000.

Ms Roberts said the entire family had been dealing with the turmoil for months and her much loved sister-in-law had been “so strong”.

“As you may be aware, my beautiful sister in-law and my nieces and nephew had their lives taken by a disgusting human being they called their father,” Ms Roberts wrote.

“For all those who knew Hannah, or had even just met her once, would know how much of a beautiful soul she was, her children were her life.

“All of us … have watched the turmoil Sue and Lloyd have gone through watching their daughter and grandkids at the hand of this monster,” she wrote.

“You are so strong Hannah. Rest Easy with your beautiful littles.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the tragedy was “devastating”.

“My heart goes out to the families and community going through this tragic time and the emergency responders confronting what would be a shattering scene,” he said.

Ms Clarke’s Facebook and social media accounts describe her son Trey as her “main man” and detail the fitness trainer mum’s love of the beach and exercise with her children.

Her ex-partner’s account – which was taken down by Facebook on Thursday afternoon –  included a disturbing video of him “play wrestling” with his children while the youngest child appeared distressed.

According to witnesses of the tragedy, Mr Baxter, a former rugby league player, survived the blaze before abusing neighbours who tried to hose down the flames and and rescue the children.

He then reportedly returned to the burning car and retrieved a knife which he used to stab himself on the street where he died.

Aaron Snell, a neighbour who witnessed the tragedy, told News Corp that Mr Baxter shouted at bystanders that he wanted his family to die.

“He was so angry and just going absolutely crazy … he wanted [the car] to burn,” he said.

“I’m trying to suss out the situation, whether I could do CPR or not and he was just in all matter of states. And then he jumped into the full flaming car, into the front seat to grab a knife. He stabbed himself in the chest.

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Mr Baxter reportedly told bystanders to let his family die. Photo: ABC

“That’s when he’s dropped to his knees and went down head first, then he jumped up again, and then he fell flat.”

Mr Baxter was once contracted to the New Zealand Warriors, but did not play a first-grade game.

Before they split, the couple owned a gym, Intergr8, in Brisbane. It shut down after their marriage broke down late last year.

First responders to the tragedy including ambulance officers and police are receiving counselling.

“I’ve been in the ambulance service for a long time and these things are always confronting when there’s children involved,” said senior operations supervisor Adrian Tong at the scene.

“It was confronting. We did all we could.”

  • If you or someone you know are impacted by family violence or sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au
  • Men who have anger, relationship or parenting issues, should contact the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491
  • In an emergency, call 000