brisbane-news

Hannah Clarke’s family speak out after horrific murder-suicide, said she suffered burns to 97 per cent of body in car fire

Posted

February 22, 2020 10:37:44

The family of Hannah Clarke, who was set alight with her three children in a car fire in Brisbane, say she suffered burns to 97 per cent of body and only the soles of her feet were left unburnt.

Key points:

  • Hannah Clarke’s family have revealed she thought her estranged husband, Rowan Baxter, would kill her
  • They want Hannah’s footprint to be a symbol of her legacy
  • Family says Baxter was manipulative and breached a domestic violence order

In an interview with the Nine Network, Hannah’s parents and brother also revealed she thought her estranged husband would kill her.

The 31-year-old was pulled alive from the driver’s seat of the family car as it was engulfed by flames on a Camp Hill street in Brisbane about 8:30am on Wednesday, during a routine school run.

Her children — Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3 — all died inside the car and Hannah died hours later in hospital.

Her estranged husband Rowan Baxter poured petrol on his family and died near the car from self-inflicted wounds after the domestic violence incident.

Hannah’s brother, Nathaniel Clarke, said she suffered horrific injuries.

“My sister was so badly burnt the only thing they could do for memorabilia of her was a footprint because the soles of her feet were the only part of her body that weren’t burnt,” he said.

“We’re wanting the symbol of her foot to be a symbol for her and her legacy.

“We want to try and start something to help women who are in this situation who have suffered domestic abuse mentally, physically, sexually — you know there are so many different parts of it.”

Lloyd Clarke — Hannah’s father — said she managed to speak to emergency crews after the incident.

Family violence support services:

“He ambushed her as far as we know,” he said.

“She managed to give a detailed report to the first responders on what he did, before they could sedate her for 97 per cent burns to her body.”

Her mother Suzanne said Hannah was worried Baxter would kill her.

“I didn’t believe that he would hurt the kids, she was concerned that he would kill her,” Suzanne said.

“She said to me last week, ‘Should I do a will?’ and ‘What will happen to my babies if he kills me?'”

Suzanne said Baxter was manipulative and breached a domestic violence order.

“He was evil … he was very good at playing the victim himself,” she said.

“Hannah hid a lot of it from us.

“I would ask her, but she would say, ‘I’m fine Mum,’ I think she was scared to leave and we had to wait until she was ready.

“She was so brave … she was strong until the very end.”

Suzanne detailed a recent incident of Baxter’s controlling behaviour.

“Three weeks ago, he had to bring Tre [sic] home and when Hannah went to get Tre out of the car he had A4 photos of her in her underwear all over the car,” she said.

“She grabbed them out of the car and screwed them up and he grabbed her by the arm and twisted it up behind her back.

“He lived on social media, everything was to say that he had the perfect family, everything was a lie.”

More resources to fight ‘horrific human rights issue’

In 2015, former governor-general Dame Quentin Bryce authored the landmark ‘Not Now, Not Ever’ report which contained 140 recommendations to lead the state’s response to domestic and family violence.

The State Government accepted all the recommendations and has implemented them all.

“It’s a shattering tragedy that I think has touched everyone of us very deeply with sadness for such suffering, loss and grief,” Ms Bryce said.

“I don’t think any of us on the taskforce or out in the community expected the ‘Not Now, Not Ever’ report to change things immediately.

“We didn’t underestimate the enormous challenge that we faced but I think it’s a very significant step forward in addressing this horrific scourge to have the 140 recommendations adopted and put into policy, legislation and practice.”

Ms Bryce said the state needs to dedicate more resources to combating the issue.

“We need to make sure that we keep the pressure on,” she said.

“We need more resources; we’ve got to do it harder and better and with more determination.

“We’ve got to throw everything we’ve got at this horrific human rights issue in our society.”

Ms Bryce said there needs to be a greater focus on perpetrators.

“We need to be even more responsive; we need to have early intervention with better, stronger, longer-term programs for perpetrators,” she said.

“We don’t talk enough about the perpetrators, about the failures of so many apprehended violence orders — the AVOs — that are ignored, that build up and, in the meantime, terrible tragedy strikes.”

Topics:

domestic-violence,

murder-and-manslaughter,

family,

children,

grief,

federal—state-issues,

activism-and-lobbying,

women,

mental-health,

suicide,

brisbane-4000,

camp-hill-4152,

australia,

qld


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