Hannah Clarke and her three children died in a horrific car fire set by her husband Rowan Baxter in Camp Hill, Brisbane in Australia on February 19, 2020. Rowan Baxter and the three children were all found dead at the scene by emergency responders, and Hannah Clarke died later in hospital.
Detective Inspector Mark Thompson told Australian news that “How the fire actually occurred has not been ascertained at the moment, so for us to call it a murder-suicide or a tragic accident, it’s inappropriate at this stage.” One witness of the car fire told media that Hannah Clarke had run from the vehicle yelling “He’s poured petrol on me.”
Detective Inspector Thompson, who was leading the investigation, has stepped down from his post after being accused of “victim shaming.” According to BBC News, he said that Rowan Baxter’s actions could be the result of a man “being driven too far by issues that he’s suffered.”
According to the Queensland police’s website, early investigations show that Hannah was driving the car and Rowan was in the passenger seat at the time of the incident. Australian media reported that Rowan Baxter had managed to leave the vehicle and had self-inflicted stab wounds and had tried to prevent people from reaching the vehicle.
Another man was transported to the hospital as a result of the fire, a passerby who helped Hannah escape from the vehicle. According to police, this man suffered burns to his face.
Hannah Was 31 Years Old & Their Three Kids Were Aged 6, 4 & 3 Years Old
Hannah was a 31-year-old mother of three who posted frequent pictures of her kids on Facebook. Their kids were Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey. According to Australian media, Rowan and Hannah had separated at the end of last year and they were still discussing custody arrangements for their kids. According to a BBC News report, Hannah had gone to the police frequently for help with domestic violence and had received court orders. She had been going by her name Hannah Clarke, and not Hannah Baxter, at the time of her death.
Hannah Clarke’s Facebook is full of messages of love from friends, one posting “Forever together in the arms of the angels. So sad.. prayers of strength to the family left dealing with this senseless act.” Another said: “Hugs to all of Hannah’s family and friends; I hope you can have some [peace] knowing Hannah will be with her beautiful children forever.”
Rowan and Hannah Were Joint Owners of a Fitness Center in Brisbane
Rowan and Hannah also owned a fitness center together called Integr8 Fitness. This is the introduction video for the gym featuring Rowan and Hannah:
According to their website, Hannah has a background in competitive sports, representing Queensland in Trampoline sports four years in a row. At that time, she received gold and silver medals. Her passion was “developing the physical abilities of children.”
Rowan Baxter previously played rugby for the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland. He also had over 20 years of experience in sport and fitness, according to his profile on Integr8 Fitness.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison posted on Twitter about the incident, saying “Devastating news out of Camp Hill. My heart goes out to the families and community going through this tragic time and the emergency responders confronting what would be a shattering scene. If you or anyone you know needs support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.”