The coroner investigating the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children has found that all agencies have failed to protect the young mother from her estranged partner, but also said nothing would have stopped him. murder hair.
Coroner Jane Bentley revealed in her 160-page report that he had failed to protect the young mother from Rowan Baxter, and that he was not believed to kill her, probably because he had not been physically before. violent†
Bentley said there were numerous opportunities to assist Clarke in the lead up to her murder, which no action was taken, but said agents dealing with Clarke acted appropriately immediately.
“Her fears were genuine and realistic and eventually confirmed in the worst possible way,” Bentley said.
“I consider it unlikely that further actions by police officers, service providers, friends or relatives could have prevented Baxter from ultimately carrying out his murderous plans.”
The report contained several pages of examples of Baxter’s controlling and abusive behavior, including recording Clarke’s conversations and phone calls, isolating her from family and friends, and even disappearing with their children.
Bentley discovered that these actions all led to Baxter’s premeditation, which he carried out in February 2020.
Clarke had been driving her three children – Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey – to school from her parents’ house when they were intercepted by Baxter, who doused Clarke, the children and their car with gasoline before restraining the young mother and the vehicle. lit.
Clarke was covered in burns up to 97 percent of her body when she went to the police, but died in hospital that day.
Her children died almost immediately from smoke inhalation and burns.
“Rowan Baxter was not mentally ill,” said Bentley.
“He was a master of manipulation.”
“When Baxter concluded that he had lost control of Hannah, he killed her and her three children. He had planned the murders in the days before.’
Bentley said Baxter then committed suicide in “a final act of cowardice”.
Clarke’s parents said Baxter underestimated Hannah’s bravery and that they would continue to fight for an end to domestic violence.
“I think he underestimated how much a mother will fight. And how strong a mother is,” said Sue Clarke.
“We are pleased with the findings.”
“We need the other states to look at what Queensland has started and are doing, and they need to follow suit,” said Lloyd Clarke.
“It’s an awkward conversation we started, but we all need to continue this conversation.”
“Hopefully with the training no one will see that risk again,” added Sue Clarke.
The coroner made four recommendations that she said required immediate action, including urgent accelerated police training on domestic violence.
She said specialized police orders should also complete a five-day face-to-face domestic violence training program.
The testing of a new specialized police station, equipped specifically to deal with domestic violence cases, was also recommended, as was urgent funding for men’s behavior modification programs.
“Our organization doesn’t have all the answers,” Bentley said.
“We must work with all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, businesses and the community to identify and deliver long-term, sustainable, culturally appropriate solutions.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, domestic violence, or domestic violence, please call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au† In an emergency, call 000.