Haunting details in case of mum burned alive alongside her three kids on the school run by depraved ex | The Sun

HAUNTING new details have emerged in the case of a mum who was burned alive alongside her three kids by her "murderous" ex-husband.

Hannah Clarke, 31, died while trying to protect her young children when her ex Rowan Baxter, 42, ambushed her in a premeditated attack.



Baxter was found dead alongside his ex-wife, two daughters Laianah, six, Aaliyah, four and three-year-old son Trey, by paramedics in Brisbane, Australia in February 2020.

Ms Clarke left her mum’s home in Camp Hill at 8.30am on February 19, 2020, with her three children in the car’s back seat.

A court previously heard how Baxter intercepted the car armed with a knife and jerry can of petrol, dousing the cabin and restraining Ms Clarke as she desperately called for help.

Ms Clarke bravely kept driving to try and get help – but the car caught on fire.

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Ms Clarke fled with her clothes in flames while screaming: "He's poured petrol on me!"

Baxter stabbed himself with a knife after witnessing what he had just done – which Deputy State coroner Jane Bentley described as a "final act of cowardice".

Speaking on Wednesday, Ms Bentley said Ms Clarke died from multi-organ failure from the fire started by Baxter, news.com.au reports.

She said: "The children died almost immediately from the inhalation of fumes and burns.

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"Hannah had received full-thickness, non-survivable burns."

Ms Bentley said Ms Clarke had shown "astounding bravery" and managed to tell onlookers what Baxter had done to her and the children before she died.

Ms Clarke had left Baxter following a series of abusive events – with Ms Bentley describing him as a "master of manipulation".

The inquest heard how Baxter displayed controlling and abusive behaviours – including controlling what Ms Clarke wore, who she could see, and he demanded sex every night.

On Boxing Day 2019, Baxter abducted Laianah from Ms Clarke and fled to the northern New South Wales, only returning a few days later.

On another occasion, Baxter assaulted Ms Clarke for confronting him about inappropriate pictures of her he had in his car – which he was planning to use in court.

Ms Bentley admitted nothing could stop Baxter from carrying out his "murderous" plans.

She said: "After Hannah left him and he realised he could no longer control her, he began to rally support from friends he had not seen for years and professionals he considered could advance his cause.

"The truth is Hannah, who knew him best, was initially in favour of him having contact with the children… but she perceived he was becoming more dangerous.

"Her fears were genuine and realistic and ultimately confirmed in the worst way."

Ms Bentley – who became emotional reading her findings – explained how police at times failed to hold Baxter accountable for his actions.

She admitted that even if Baxter was attended a programme about domestic violence, he would have still probably continued with his evil plans to hurt Ms Clarke.

Ms Bentley called for the Queensland government to give specialist domestic police officers a "five-day face-to-face domestic violence training program".

She also suggested all other cops have face-to-face training and to set up a specialist domestic violence police station for a 12-month trial.

"My final recommendation is that the Queensland government provide funding for men's behaviour change programs both in prisons and in the community as a matter of urgency," Ms Bentley added.

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Hannah Clarke's parents said: "We expected most of the results.

"We need to see everything that's been recommended implemented in every state."

How you can get help

Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:

  • Always keep your phone nearby.
  • Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
  • If you are in danger, call 999.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
  • Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
  • If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
  • Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.

If you are a ­victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support ­service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]

Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.

You can also call the freephone 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.



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