A Brisbane mum who died from horrific burns along with her three children at the hands of her estranged husband performed one final heroic act.
Hannah Clarke and her three kids Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3, was killed by Rowan Baxter on Wednesday morning in the suburb of Camp Hill.
What happened is still being investigated but it’s believed Baxter doused the mum and their three children in fuel before setting them alight as they sat in Ms Clarke’s car.
None of them survived, but before Ms Clarke passed away from her injuries in hospital her family claims she gave details about Baxter to the police.
Ms Clarke’s father Lloyd told A Current Affair on Friday night his daughter gave a “detailed report” to police in case Baxter survived his self-inflicted injuries.
“To the end she fought so that if he survived, he got punished for doing that to her babies,” Ms Clarke’s mum Suzanne told the program.
“I think she passed after that. But she made sure she got out as much information as possible.”
‘Rowan’s way or the highway’
Mrs Clarke was blunt in her assessment of Baxter: “He was evil”.
Mrs Clarke said her daughter was “scared to leave” but had been making small steps to move away in recent times.
She said her daughter only last week brought up the idea of organising a will.
The family claims Baxter stalked Ms Clarke through her mobile phone and knew where she was at all times.
She claims her daughter “wasn’t allowed to wear bikinis” and despite working in the fitness industry was told not to wear shorts.
Baxter was controlling and manipulative, and “it was Rowan’s way or the highway,” she said.
Ms Clarke’s brother Nathaniel said his sister had confided in him, saying it seemed Baxter couldn’t handle the success of his partner.
“He was a very jealous and spiteful person,” he said.
“He managed to drive a wedge between us … it was just all manipulated.”
Ms Clarke’s father Lloyd told ACA he believed Baxter had ambushed Hannah and the children to gain access to the car in Camp Hill.
He said his daughter bravely escaped the car and gave a detailed report to the medical staff on scene with burns covering 97 per cent of her body.
“To the end she fought to make sure if he survived he got punished for doing that to her babies, she was so brave,” Mrs Clarke said fighting through tears.
The Clarke family said there had been multiple incidences in which Baxter would take the children hostage and times where he breached the couple’s domestic violence order.
They say more needs to be done to ensure victims are better protected from their abusers and are hoping to establish a support system for women suffering at the hands of domestic violence.
“The system’s broken,” said Nathaniel, adding that Hannah and her three children were “the best humans”.
Ms Clarke’s friend Manja Whaley claims Baxter financially, emotionally and sexually controlled his estranged wife for more than a decade.
She also claims Ms Clarke didn’t realise she was a victim of domestic violence throughout her relationship with Baxter.
“At first you were confused and told me that you had never thought of being in a domestic violent relationship as you explained ‘he never hit me’,” Ms Whaley wrote.
“This is not love. This is coercive control. The act of threats, intimidation, assault and humiliation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish his own children and wife.”
The deaths of the Clarke children and their mum are being treated as murder.
A source told the ABC Baxter had previously refused to sign a consent form from his lawyer during mediation allowing him 165 days of custody of the three children. The custody offer came from Ms Clarke.
However, he turned it down in favour of a different arrangement. This arrangement was thrown out after an amended domestic violence order was placed against him for allegedly assaulting his estranged wife.
“He got the children back but… He wanted 50-50, that was it. It was his way or nothing,” the source told the ABC.
“In my view, it wasn’t about the children at all, he just couldn’t move past the relationship with Hannah.”
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