Hannah Clarke’s father says the ‘monster’ who killed his daughter and her three children as they were being driven to school could not have truly loved them.
Lloyd Clarke, the father of Hannah Clarke – who died alongside Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three – when their father Rowan Baxter torched their car in Brisbane’s east on Wednesday, says he hopes the ‘scum rots in hell’.
‘If he truly loved them he would not have killed his children in such a horrible way,’ Mr Clarke wrote on social media.
‘He might have said he cared and loved his children but I know it was always about him coming first.’
Hannah Clarke’s father says the ‘monster’ who killed his daughter and her three children as they were being driven to school could not have truly loved them. Pictured: Hannah with her mother Suzanne Clarke
Hannah Clarke died alongside Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three – when their father Rowan Baxter torched their car in Brisbane’s east on Wednesday
In a series of text messages sent to a relative, Ms Clarke spoke of her relief when she finally fled Baxter late last year, but appeared to be living in fear.
‘I’m so glad I got out when I did.’ ‘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,’ she wrote.
In another conversation, shared with The Courier Mail, Ms Clarke spoke of the day Baxter kidnapped one of their children and took her interstate.
‘He took her off me in the street because I said the kids couldn’t stay with him until we had a court order,’ Hannah said.
‘He got the s***s and picked her up and threw her in his car.’
Hannah’s parents Suzanne and Lloyd Clarke said Baxter had spent months stalking Hannah, tracking her phone and tormenting her in the lead up to the horrific murder
Text messages sent by Hannah Clarke to a relative in the weeks after she fled her violent marriage and moved in with her parents
Baxter kidnapped one of the couple’s children on Boxing Day last year. Hannah revealed the details of it in a text message to a relative
Ms Clarke was taking her children to school from her parents’ home at Camp Hill in Brisbane’s east when Mr Baxter jumped into the car’s front passenger seat.
The car made it to nearby Raven St where, according to one witness, Ms Clarke escaped from the car screaming ‘he’s poured petrol on me’ as flames took hold.
The children died in the back seat.
Ms Clarke , 31, succumbed to her extensive burns on Wednesday night.
Baxter died from self-inflicted wounds, and police have confirmed a knife was found at the scene.
Baxter holding the couple’s son Trey and Hannah with daughters Aaliyah, six, and Laianah, four
Hannah’s family said Baxter must have hidden in their garden and stalked her and the children. He then poured petrol on them and set the car alight
The charred remains of the Kia Sportage SUV was taken away from the quiet Brisbane street on Wednesday night
The horrific domestic violence incident unfolded as Ms Clarke was doing the routine school run, and just metres from her parent’s house she had driven away from.
At about 8.25am, Baxter poured petrol all over his children who were strapped in the back seat, on Hannah and himself, before setting the vehicle alight.
Hannah managed to free herself from the inferno screaming ‘He’s poured petrol on me’, witnesses said.
Horrified onlookers have recounted how Baxter was ‘going crazy’ and telling residents not to help his children out of the burning car, before he stabbed himself to death.
Heroic neighbour Michael Zemek, who was washing his car over the road, ran to help and is still recovering in hospital after suffering serious burns himself.
The Baxter children Laianah, four, and Aaliyah, six holding Trey, three
Dave Kramer, who once worked for the Baxters at their gym broke down as he visited the makeshift shrine on Thursday
The witness said he got Ms Clarke to roll on the ground until the flames were out, then sprayed the burns across her whole body with water.
Another neighbour, Andrew Sinclair, heard the explosion and came running, arriving to see Ms Clarke’s piercing gaze as two neighbours hosed her down.
‘She was standing with her arms out and her palm towards the hose. She looked straight at me, staring,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It was a look of pain and shock that will stay with me forever.’
Mr Sinclair likened the burns across her entire body to the famous photo of a burned girl in the Vietnam War.
‘She was dressed in active wear like a typical suburban mum and it was burnt, there was holes in it and her skin was falling off her body,’ he said.
Forensic experts comb the street where the father and his three children died after he set them all alight
Suzanne Clarke with grandaughters Aaliyah, 6 and Laianah, 4. Mrs Clarke said she tried for months to shield the children and her daughter Hannah from Baxter’s ‘monstrous’ behaviour
‘She was burned all over her body. It was like someone you’d see in a war movie. She was only still standing because of adrenaline, the pain she must have been in was unimaginable.’
Mr Sinclair said the fire was so intense he couldn’t even tell what kind of car it was.
‘No matter what the fire brigade did they couldn’t get the fire out, there was no chance to save those kids,’ he said.
‘I can’t understand why he would do this. Even if he didn’t love his family anymore there’s his parents, brothers, cousins who have to carry this with them forever.’
Another witness said the car rolled down the road with Baxter chasing after it. He then jumped into the burning car and grabbed a knife.
Witness Andrew Sinclair likened the burns across Hannah’s entire body to the famous photo of a burned girl in the Vietnam War
The last family outing Hannah had with her children was to Seaworld on Sunday, three days before they were killed. Pictured are Trey, 3, (centre) and his sisters Aaliyah, 6, and Laianah, 4 with their cousins at Seaworld
‘He stabbed himself in the chest and then he fell,’ a young woman whose house the car stopped in front of said.
‘You couldn’t hear or see anything from inside the car, it was over for those kids so fast. It’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen.’
In a moving Facebook post on Thursday morning, her brother Nathaniel Clarke described the killer as a ‘heartless monster’ and revealed his parents had funded his sister’s custody battle.
‘My mum and dad have given every little thing they own to help my sister try and get away from this monster,’ he wrote.
The inferno in Raven St, Camp Hill, in Brisbane, after Baxter set his family alight inside their SUV
Baxter filled his social media accounts with pictures of himself with children Laianah, four, Trey, three and Alaliyah, six
Hannah and Baxter married in 2012, but her parents said his controlling behaviour took its toll and she moved out in November last year
A woman breaks down in tears while laying flowers at the makeshift shrine in Camps Hill on Thursday
Baxter took the marriage breakdown badly and was living as a virtual recluse with his dog at the former family home.
In the backyard a basketball lay on the grass and children’s clothes and bed linen were hung on the clothesline and had been left there for weeks, according to a next-door neighbour.
Before the separation, neighbours described a happy family, with the sounds of the children playing in the backyard often filling the air.
‘They seemed like a nice happy family. He was always polite and said hello,’ one said.
‘We would see them walk the kids to school and daycare up the road.’
A doll is left at the scene of the horrific murder suicide in Camp Hill, Brisbane
Hannah with her son Trey, three. On her social media accounts, Hannah described herself as ‘mother to two princesses and one prince’
Devastated locals and friends of Hannah and the children leave flowers, cards and soft toys at the scene of the tragedy
Ms Clarke was a trampolining champion, while Mr Baxter had trialled with the New Zealand Warriors NRL squad in the mid-2000s but did not play a first-grade game.
‘Australians all over the country are just shocked, saddened and devastated about what has happened,’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.
‘Hannah and her three children so senselessly and maddeningly murdered in what has occurred in a terrible act of violence and it just grieves our hearts terribly today.’
The killings are a terrible reminder that family violence and violence against women is the national emergency the country continues to face, says Patty Kinnersly, head of violence prevention group Our Watch.
She says there is a need for long-term, secure and ongoing funding across the entire violence against women sector which included response and early intervention work preventing it from happening in the first place.
Queensland University of Technology Professor Kerry Carrington, who is an expert in gender violence, believes the deaths could have been prevented with earlier intervention.
The latest federal government report into domestic violence reveals one woman was killed every nine days by a partner between 2014 and 2016.
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The Baxter’s marital home in suburban Carindale, in Brisbane, is cordoned off as a crime scene, while mourners place flowers and soft toys at the scene
A shrine grows at the scene where Hannah and her three kids were doused in fuel and set alight, while one person leaves a poignant sign about domestic violence