Sick rules for controlling Hannah's life exposed

 

The family of Hannah Clarke have revealed shocking insights into the controlling behaviour Rowan Baxter used against their daughter in a heartbreaking interview after her death.

Speaking with Nine's A Current Affair, Hannah's parents Lloyd and Suzanne Clarke and her brother Nathaniel gave an insight into her life and the lengths she went to protect her children from their father.

Suzanne revealed that Hannah feared her estranged husband Rowan Baxter would kill her and asked her mum last week: "What happens to my babies if he kills me?"

Hannah's mum was unequivocal in her assessment of Baxter, saying simply "he was evil".

Ms Clarke's mum, Suzanne, described how Baxter "manipulated" her daughter Hannah and tried to control her life.

In early January, Baxter was given a DVO by a Brisbane court for kidnapping one of their children and taking her interstate against Hannah's wishes.

"Not all domestic abuse is physical," Hannah's brother Nathaniel told the program. "Mental is probably one of the hardest things to pick up on.

"Even Hannah, for a few years there she said to me "I was thinking it wasn't abuse because he never hit me."

Hannah Clarke and her three children were killed by Rowan Baxter when he set their car on fire.
Hannah Clarke and her three children were killed by Rowan Baxter when he set their car on fire.

The family claimed he stalked Hannah through her mobile and knew where she was at all times. Baxter also forced her to have sex with him every night and made sure she wasn't on the pill leading to the "surprise" of her third child.

"She wasn't allowed to wear bikinis, she works in the fitness industry and wasn't allowed to wear shorts. She had to cover up," Suzanne said.

"In the beginning we thought he was a prude, but in hindsight we know there was more to it than that. He was controlling. It was Rowan's way or the highway."

"She had to grovel and then he would forgive her. She was petrified".

"He could manipulate her. The night before he killed them he was on the phone to the children crying and she hung up or the children hung up she said to me 'Mum I feel so bad for him'.

Her mother said Hannah was worried she would be killed but didn't think Baxter would hurt the children.

"She said to me only last week "Mum should I do a will? What happens to my babies if he kills me? Because he'll go to jail for murder, who gets my children? She said I want you and dad to have them or Nat. I don't want his family to have them."

Her brother Nathaniel said he was also a master at playing the victim

"If she didn't he would make the next day unbearable for the kids and that. Once again not physically hurting the kids or anything like that, but just you know just make it a tortuous day of "You want to go to the beach? No you're not going to beach. You're not allowed that." [He] wouldn't talk to Hannah."

A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw was brought to tears during the interview.
A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw was brought to tears during the interview.

The heartbroken family also revealed Hannah's body was so badly burned the only thing that remained was a single footprint which they want to become a symbol of the fight against domestic violence.

The family, distraught at times during the interview, praised the police and said they wanted more action to be taken to battle domestic violence.

"The system's broken," said Nathaniel, adding that Hannah and her three children were "the best humans".

During the moving interview, host Tracey Grimshaw was also reduced to tears.

Hannah’s parents Lloyd and Suzanne Clarke and her brother Nathaniel. Picture: A Current Affair/Channel 9
Hannah’s parents Lloyd and Suzanne Clarke and her brother Nathaniel. Picture: A Current Affair/Channel 9

 

BRUTAL ATTACK SHOCKED AUSTRALIA

The 31-year-old mum and her children Laianah, 6, Aaliyah, 4, and Trey, 3, died on Wednesday after Rowan Baxter attacked them.

The family was setting out of the school run in the Brisbane suburb of Camp Hill when Baxter approached the car and sat in the passenger seat.

Baxter then set the car on fire, with a witness reporting Ms Clarke jumped out of the car yelling, "He's poured petrol on me".

The three children died at the scene, with their mother taken to hospital before succumbing to her injuries later that night.

However before she was taken away, the family revealed she was able to give a detailed report to medics about what happened in the minutes before.

Baxter was declared dead at the scene, reportedly dying from self-inflicted injuries.

Ms Clarke’s father, Lloyd. Picture: A Current Affair/Channel 9
Ms Clarke’s father, Lloyd. Picture: A Current Affair/Channel 9

 

Ms Clarke’s mother said Baxter was on the phone to the children the night before the murders. Picture: A Current Affair/Channel 9
Ms Clarke’s mother said Baxter was on the phone to the children the night before the murders. Picture: A Current Affair/Channel 9

FOOTPRINT ALL THAT REMAINED

The family told Grimshaw that Hannah suffered burns to 97 per cent of her body.

"My sister was so badly burnt that the soles of her feet were only part of her body that weren't burnt. They couldn't even get a hand print or anything from her," said Nathaniel.

"So we want the symbol of her foot to be a symbol for her and her legacy. We want to try and start something to help women who are in this situation who have suffered domestic abuse, mentally, physically, sexually."

The family said they wanted to call the movement "Small Steps for Hannah."

This footprint is one of the few things left of Hannah Clarke who suffered burns to 97 per cent of her body.
This footprint is one of the few things left of Hannah Clarke who suffered burns to 97 per cent of her body.

Towards the end of the interview Grimshaw remarked that the family had an image of the footprint and a necklace of Hannah's with them.

Suzanne said the necklace was one Hannah was wearing when she was burned and it was black, however that had since rubbed off and it had returned to gold.

"You have a footprints and a necklace. It's not enough," Grimshaw said.

"Not at all," said Suzanne. "Not when on Sunday I was cooking with Aaliyah and on Saturday when we were at Sea World.

"She was strong to the very end," she said through tears.

"He was a monster," said Nathaniel.

The family spoke of how Hannah was a beautiful daughter and sister who gave "energy to everyone". They said she had a wonderful smile and was always there for her children. The family believed she was targeted by Baxter because she was kind and he was "very good at playing the victim."

They said Baxter managed to "drive a wedge" between family members which can be typical in domestic violence situations.

"But don't get caught up in the hate. Just spread Hannah's love as far as you can."

 

Ms Clarke’s family are setting up a domestic violence campaign in her honour.
Ms Clarke’s family are setting up a domestic violence campaign in her honour.

 


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