Mum's devastating Instagram post before car fire tragedy

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

Hannah Clarke shared a message of survival and triumph to social media before she was killed along with her three young children by her estranged husband who set their car on fire.

The 31-year-old died in hospital hours after her kids Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3, burned to death in the car in Camp Hill, Brisbane, on Wednesday about 8.20am.

Her ex-husband, Rowan Baxter, died at the scene from self-inflicted injuries, police say.

In the months leading up to the tragedy – which reportedly unfolded as Ms Clarke was taking the kids to school – police received reports of domestic violence within the family.

In the lead up to the tragedy, Ms Clarke wrote on Instagram about never again being mistreated or dictated.

Hannah, pictured with her son Trey, shared a haunting Instagram post before her death. Source: Facebook

“I am a strong woman, I don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself nor will I ever let anyone mistreat me again,” the message, attached to a photo of herself with her two daughters, read.

“I don't respond to people who dictate to me or try to bring me down. I am a survivor, not a victim. I am in control of my life and there is nothing I can't achieve.

“My girls will grow up being strong women who understand their worth.”

The mum also included hashtags saying “we got this”, “strong women” and “daughters”.

She reportedly escaped the burning vehicle and screamed “he’s poured petrol on me”, according to witnesses, who used a garden hose to extinguish her body before she was rushed to hospital.

The children were found dead in the back seat of the car, while witnesses claimed seeing Mr Baxter injure himself.

Police are urging anyone with information about the Baxter family dynamic to come forward to help determine what caused their brutal killing in Brisbane. 

The three children, six-year-old Aaliyah, three-year-old Trey, and four-year-old Laianah. Source: Facebook

The appeal comes as the reality sets in for many who knew Ms Clarke and her estranged husband, with a number of people expressing sadness and anger online.

“Our investigations have shown us quite clearly that there is a palpable sense of grief and mourning amongst the community,” Detective Inspector Mark Thompson said. 

“We have reviewed some of the social media and public commentary that we've seen from the community.”

A court had granted at least one domestic violence order relating to the couple, however it is unknown who made the application.

The pair reportedly separated just before Christmas, and were trying to sort out custody arrangements.

The couple had reportedly been separated since December and police are investigating if the deaths were a murder-suicide at the hands of Mr Baxter, 42.

Rowan and Hannah with their three beautiful children, Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3. Source: Facebook

Ms Clarke’s father, Lloyd Clarke, has expressed his grief online, saying he believes his estranged son-in-law is rotting in hell.

“The scum rots in hell. If he truly loved them he would not have killed his children in such a horrible way,” Mr Clarke said on social media.

"He might have said he cared and loved his children but I know it was always about him coming first."

Ms Clarke’s brother, Nat Clarke, posted a tribute to his sister and her children on Facebook.

"RIP you beautiful souls. I had my sister, nephew and 2 nieces taken from me in the worst way possible ... I will forever love you all," he wrote.

With AAP

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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