Mum's fight to make sure ex paid after setting family alight revealed

·News Reporter
·3-min read

The mum killed after being doused in petrol and set alight by her estranged husband “fought until the end” for her kids, her parents have revealed.

Hannah Clarke, 31, and her children – Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three – were covered in petrol and burned alive by Rowan Baxter on the morning school run in Brisbane in February.

In hospital with 97 per cent of her body covered in burns, Ms Clarke forced herself to twice give police a statement naming Baxter as the family's attacker.

“Hannah always protected her beautiful children and put them first. She did that in the best of times and in the worst of times,” her mum, Sue Clarke told AAP.

Mum and three kids pictured with the man that doused them in petrol and set them alight.
Hannah pictured with her kids Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey, and their attacker Rowan Baxter. Source: AAP

“At that stage Hannah didn't know he had died. She was doing it to ensure that he paid for what he'd done.”

After ambushing his family, Baxter, 42, was found dead at the scene with self-inflicted knife wounds.

Ms Clarke, up until her last breath, fought to outline every detail of the attack, even to emergency workers after walking herself onto a stretcher.

Her heroic effort proved crucial in the police investigation.

“She was determined, I mean, obviously in incredible pain, right through to when she passed, just to get the details out correctly,” Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll told the Courier Mail.

Mum Hannah Clarke and her son Trey before they were killed in February.
Hannah Clarke and her son Trey at the beach. Source: Facebook

Ms Clarke passed out on the way to hospital, but woke up in the ICU where she again repeated what had happened.

Deaths spark national conversation on coercive control

The horrific attack and her bravery in ensuring Baxter was held accountable made Ms Clarke a household name and sparked a national conversation about coercive control.

Ms Clarke had long been a victim of coercive control - a pattern of behaviours used to intimidate, humiliate, surveil, and control another person.

“Our whole family has been blown away by how the Australian people have rallied to ensure Hannah and the children aren't forgotten,” her dad, Lloyd Clarke said.

Car completely destroyed by fire after family was doused in petrol and set alight.
The burnt car at the scene in Camp Hill, Brisbane. Source: Reuters

“We've always known how strong and inspirational she is, and we're so grateful that others recognise that too.”

Young mum honoured months after her death

Eight months after her death, Hannah has been posthumously named one of Marie Claire's Women of the Year.

“People don't realise the incredible bravery and resilience Hannah displayed during those last horrific hours of her life to ensure her story was told,” editor Nicky Briger said.

“Because of Hannah, coercive control was given nationwide attention.”

Tasmania is the only Australian jurisdiction that has laws criminalising coercive control, but an inquiry into criminalising the behaviour is underway in NSW.

With AAP

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