The family of Brisbane woman Hannah Clarke have revealed the struggle she faced in the months before her death, as she reportedly fled the marital home with her three young children and moved in with her parents in the suburb of Camp Hill.
Hannah, 31, tragically passed away in hospital on Wednesday evening after sustaining severe injuries in an horrific car fire, alleged to have been deliberately set by her estranged husband Rowan Baxter. Her three children Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three, were also killed in the suspected murder-suicide, while Mr Baxter also died at the scene.
Now Hannah’s brother Nathaniel Clarke has opened up about the tragedy on social media, claiming that his parents Sue and Lloyd Clarke had given “every little thing they owned” to fund Hannah’s custody battle with the former NRL player.
“R.i.p. you beautiful souls,” the father-of-two wrote on Instagram. “Yesterday I had my sister, nephew and 2 nieces taken from me in the worst way possible by a heartless monster they called there dad former NRL player Rowan Baxter.
“Everyone who has been lucky enough to be apart of there lives would know just how sweet and loving these kids and my sister really were. The last thing my sister said to my wife was I’m so excited this year will be great. I’m so great full she and I got to reconnect and become such close friends before this tragedy I will forever love you all.”
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R.i.p. you beautiful souls. yesterday day I had my sister nephew and 2 nieces taken from me in the worst way possible by a heartless monster they called there dad former NRL player Rowan Baxter. Everyone who has been lucky enough to be apart of there lives would know just how sweet and loving these kids and my sister really were. The last thing my sister said to my wife was I’m so excited this year will be great. I’m so great full she and I got to reconnect and become such close friends before this tragedy I will forever love you all. I’m am now trying to help raise awareness about #violenceagainstwomen as monsters like this get away with this to often. I am also trying to raise money for my mum and dad who have given ever little thing they own to help my sister try and get away from this monster. Please share this link or donate if you can so we can give these kids and my sister the funeral they deserve. https://www.facebook.com/donate/129412541729295/?fundraiser_source=external_url #crossfitbrisbane #zuufitness #nrl #newzealandrugbyleague #carindale #carindalepcyc @zekegrove @theathletesfootcarindale @westfieldcarindale @seaworldaus @qldpolice @nrl @mattyjohnsshowsfox @nzwarriors @zuufitness @kaltire @fittestmum_comp @winningappliances @appliancesonline.com.au.
Nathaniel then asked people to donate via a Facebook link to help his parents cover funeral costs. He added: “I am also trying to raise money for my mum and dad who have given ever little thing they own to help my sister try and get away from this monster.”
The online fundraising effort – which has so far raised more than $71,000 – was launched by Nathaniel’s wife Stacey Roberts who said that her in-laws had “exhausted themselves” in a bid to help their daughter “escape” her estranged husband.
She said: “As you may be aware my beautiful sister in-law and my nieces and nephew had their lives taken by a disgusting human being they called their father. For all those who knew Hannah or had even just met her once would know how much of a beautiful soul she was, her children were her life.
“All she ever wanted was happiness. Her children were only a reflection of her. Gorgeous happy kids who held a massive piece in my heart and I’m sure many others ’cause that’s exactly what they were like. We will miss them all more than anything! We need your help to support her parents, Sue and Lloyd who have exhausted themselves to try and help Hannah escape this monster.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also paid tribute to Hannah and her children as he addressed reporters in Sydney on Thursday morning, describing yesterday’s incident as a senseless and maddening act of violence.
“Hannah and her three children so senselessly and maddeningly murdered in a terrible act of violence,” Morrison said. “Our thoughts go out to those who are close to the family, those who are just unable to come to terms with this horror. If there’s anyone out there who needs help, get help. Our hearts are just full of grief … Today honestly I’m just so saddened by these terrible events.”
Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the tragic incident and are yet to officially confirm the cause of the blaze, however multiple reports claim witnesses heard a woman screaming “he’s poured petrol on me”. It has also since emerged that police had previously been called to the Camp Hill property to deal with a family violence incident last month.
Detective Inspector Mark Thompson described the scene as one of the worst he has been faced with as he addressed media at the scene on Wednesday. He said: “At approximately 8.30 this morning emergency services were called in relation to a vehicle that was on fire. On arrival police and emergency services have identified five people that were involved in the fire.”
If you are concerned about domestic and family violence in your family, friends or workplace, contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732, Mensline Australia on 1300 789 978, Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 or Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 for confidential support, advice and referral that will help you explore your options.