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Brisbane mother Hannah Clarke remembered in Covid-safe tribute one year on from her murder

Mourners have been encouraged to pay their respects to Hannah Clarke and her three babies at home on the one year anniversary of their deaths to avoid any Covid breaches. 

This Friday, Lloyd and Sue Clarke will light a candle to represent each of the lives lost on February 19, 2020, when Rowan Baxter doused his estranged wife and children in petrol and set them alight in a suburban Brisbane street.  

Six-year-old Aaliyah, her four-year-old sister, Laianah, and three-year-old brother Trey all died at the scene.

Hannah, 31, bravely detailed the attack to police twice before succumbing to burns covering 97 per cent of her body.

Hannah Clarke is pictured with her two daughters Aaliyah, six, and Laianah, four

This Friday, Lloyd and Sue Clarke will light a candle to represent each of the lives lost on February 19, 2020

This Friday, Lloyd and Sue Clarke will light a candle to represent each of the lives lost on February 19, 2020

As bystanders tried to rescue Hannah and her three babies, Baxter brandished a knife and told witnesses to ‘let her burn’ before fatally stabbing himself. 

While coronavirus restrictions have limited the family’s ability to put together a public tribute, they are urging the public to keep Hannah and her children in their thoughts on Friday. 

Under Queensland’s current Covid guidelines, any events must first be approved and adhere to a stringent Covid-safe plan.

Gatherings are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

Hannah's parents Lloyd and Sue are pictured with two of their grandchildren. The grieving couple are speaking out as a reminder that domestic violence can happen in any postcode and any class

Hannah’s parents Lloyd and Sue are pictured with two of their grandchildren. The grieving couple are speaking out as a reminder that domestic violence can happen in any postcode and any class

Pictured: Hannah with her son, Trey, who was particularly affectionate and a 'mummy's boy'

Pictured: Hannah with her son, Trey, who was particularly affectionate and a ‘mummy’s boy’

Given the widespread outrage in the wake of their deaths, Hannah’s parents opted against planning a public service which would potentially exclude people who wanted to pay tribute.

The purpose of lighting candles is to remember the late family as ‘bright, happy people who brought light to everyone they met,’ Mrs Clarke explained.

Her husband said the ‘light’ will come after ‘our family and friends have been through some pretty dark times in the last 12 months’.   

‘As the sun goes down we invite you to light a candle for them and for all victims of domestic and family violence,’ Mr Clarke said. 

Aaliyah (pictured with her mum) told her grandparents she had the 'best day of her life' at Sea World

Aaliyah (pictured with her mum) told her grandparents she had the ‘best day of her life’ at Sea World

Lloyd and Sue have created the Small Steps 4 Hannah Foundation to ensure other women know the less obvious warning signs of domestic violence

Lloyd and Sue have created the Small Steps 4 Hannah Foundation to ensure other women know the less obvious warning signs of domestic violence

WHAT IS COERCIVE CONTROL? 

Coercive control is an ongoing and insidious form of domestic violence which is less often spoken about or recognisable.

A victim of coercive control often has their rights and civil liberties slowly stripped in a manner that mightn’t appear as aggressive as physical abuse.

The abuser uses strategies to control their victim in aspects of their lives, from telling them who they can and can’t speak to, where they can go, what they can wear and how they can spend their money.

The abuse is illegal in several countries, but has been largely overlooked in Australia.

Hannah Clarke’s death brought the conversation to the forefront of national and public interest.

Almost a year on, Hannah’s parents Sue and Lloyd are campaigning for coercive control laws to be implemented in Australia. If they were earlier, they have no doubt their daughter could still be alive.

If Hannah was living in Scotland, where coercive control is a crime, Baxter ‘would have been in jail and Hannah and the kids would have been alive,’ Lloyd explained. 

In an unofficial test they conducted comparing Baxter’s behaviour to a checklist of coercive control patterns in Scotland, he was guilty of almost all of them.

‘All of them except anything to do with finances, basically,’ Lloyd said. ‘He was pretty useless with finances.’

At the end of the checklist, the data found Baxter was ‘a 900 per cent chance of hurting Hannah’.

‘If we can come up with our own law like this in Australia, it could save so many victims.’  

The primary indicators of coercive control according to healthline are:

  • Isolating you from your support system – this includes suggesting joint social media accounts, moving you away from your family, monitoring your phone calls or convincing you that your family or friends hate you
  • Monitoring your activity throughout the day – this includes setting up cameras in the house, connecting your phone to tracking apps
  • Denying you freedom and autonomy – this includes discouraging you from going to work or school, socialising, restricting your access to transportation or constantly taking your phone
  • Gaslighting – this includes a need to always be right and to ensure the victim acknowledges that they are in the wrong or mistaken
  • Name-calling and putting you down – this includes trying to shame the victim, make them feel self conscious
  • Limiting your access to money – taking control of banking, encouraging a joint back account, setting ‘allowances’, hiding financial resources, strictly monitoring spending
  • Reinforcing traditional gender roles 
  • Turning your kids against you – this includes belittling you in front of children, including them in arguments
  • Controlling aspects of your health and body – this includes monitoring how much you eat, sleep, drink, what medication you consume, making you exercise or limiting your exercise
  • Making jealous accusations
  • Regulating your sexual relationship – this includes making blanket demands about how much or how little sex is involved in the relationship, refusing to wear protection or demanding photographs or videos
  • Threatening your children or pets – this includes making threats against their safety, threatening to report a victim to authorities and lying, making decisions without speaking with the victim 

Mrs Clarke also encouraged religious people to pray for a ‘lighter and happier world’ and to help ‘keep the flame burning until there is no more darkness’. 

A year on from the crime which shocked the nation, Hannah’s parents are still fighting for coercive control laws to be introduced to support other victims. 

Coercive control is categorised as an insidious form of family violence which slowly restricts victims and strips them of their power within a relationship.

In Hannah’s relationship, Baxter dictated what she could and couldn’t wear, would go through her phone and limited the time she could spend with friends and family.

A year on from the crime which shocked the nation, Hannah's parents are still fighting for coercive control laws to be introduced to support other victims

A year on from the crime which shocked the nation, Hannah’s parents are still fighting for coercive control laws to be introduced to support other victims

Hannah's beloved children were killed when their father doused them in petrol and set them alight

Hannah’s beloved children were killed when their father doused them in petrol and set them alight

At the time, the family didn’t recognise the warning signs, and are now calling on the government to come down tougher on offenders and help women realise when they are victims.

Shannon Fentiman, Queensland’s Minister for Women, has vowed to implement changes in the law within the next four years.

She said authorities will undergo training and there will be a public education campaign to support changes made to the law.

Meanwhile police officers are already being trained to identify warning signs and protect victims.

Mr and Mrs Clarke have started the Small Steps 4 Hannah foundation to help raise awareness about coercive control. 

A year on from the crime which shocked the nation, Hannah's parents are still fighting for coercive control laws to be introduced to support other victims

A year on from the crime which shocked the nation, Hannah’s parents are still fighting for coercive control laws to be introduced to support other victims

The Clarke family’s ‘perfect day’ less than a week before they were brutally murdered

Five days before six-year-old Aaliyah Clarke was set alight by her father alongside her mum Hannah and younger siblings, she had ‘the best day of her life’ at Sea World.

Hannah Clarke and her three children were slowly rebuilding their lives after the 31-year-old left her abusive husband, Rowan Baxter. 

On February 15, Lloyd and Sue surprised the children with a trip to Sea World on the Gold Coast.

Hannah, Lloyd and Sue made the hour-long trip from their home in Brisbane on a stinking-hot Saturday and met up with Hannah’s brother Nat and his wife Stacey, along with their two boys.

The entire family (grandfather Lloyd is pictured with Aaliyah and Laianah) went on the outing just five days before Rowan Baxter set his estranged wife and three children on fire

The entire family (grandfather Lloyd is pictured with Aaliyah and Laianah) went on the outing just five days before Rowan Baxter set his estranged wife and three children on fire

Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey relished in spending time playing with stingrays and staring at the dolphins with their cousins.

‘Aaliyah told us it was the best day of her life afterwards,’ Lloyd said. ‘She was so happy.

‘They all were, all the cousins were together. They were all so excited to see the dolphins and stingrays,’ Sue added. 

The doting grandparents were so moved by her response that they bought family season passes. 

The 'smart little cookie', as Aaliyah's grandparents Lloyd and Sue Clarke affectionately remember her, spent hours staring at the dolphins and playing with stingrays at Sea World on the Gold Coast

The ‘smart little cookie’, as Aaliyah’s grandparents Lloyd and Sue Clarke affectionately remember her, spent hours staring at the dolphins and playing with stingrays at Sea World on the Gold Coast

Trey had a particular love of animals, everything from sea creatures to dinosaurs, and was fascinated by everything he saw at the theme park.

But what could have been is still gut-wrenching. 

‘They only got to see Sea World,’ Lloyd said. ‘The season passes got them into the four parks. We hadn’t got to them yet.’ 

Both Aaliyah and Laianah had birthdays coming up in March and April. They would have turned seven and five, and the Clarke family planned to take them to the theme parks for their special days. 

They’ve been back several times since the February 15 trip with Nat and his boys, but often think back to the ‘special day’ they had when the whole family was together.    

Five days before six-year-old Aaliyah Clarke was set alight by her father alongside her mum Hannah and younger siblings, she had 'the best day of her life' at Sea World (pictured left with her brother Trey and sister Laianah)

Five days before six-year-old Aaliyah Clarke was set alight by her father alongside her mum Hannah and younger siblings, she had ‘the best day of her life’ at Sea World (pictured left with her brother Trey and sister Laianah) 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk