Hannah Clarke’s parents have opened up about the emotional last moments they shared with their daughter, who was killed alongside her three young children by estranged husband Rowan Baxter earlier this year in a horrific car fire.
The loving mother was leaving her parent’s house in the Brisbane suburb of Camp Hill to make their way to school when she was ambushed by Baxter who set the vehicle alight, before fatally stabbing himself at the scene on Raven Street.
The 31-year-old mother was rushed to hospital from the scene after managing to climb out of the vehicle, however she sadly succumbed to her extensive injuries later the same day.
Over the following weeks and months Hannah’s parents Lloyd and Sue and her brother Nat, shared further details into the abuse the mum had endured throughout the relationship. And now six months on they have spoken out again, this time sharing details in a piece published by The Courier Mail, about how they remember their gorgeous grandchildren who were killed by their father, and how “warrior” Hannah remained strong to the very end.
For Lloyd and Sue they still love to remember the happy moments they shared with their daughter and grandkids Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey, and have beautiful photos of the four hung up throughout their house as memories.
The grandparents said the last few weeks they spent with their grandkids and daughter were “absolute mayhem”, but they “loved every single minute of it”. Lloyd and Sue spent ample time with the little ones, picking them up from school, cooking dinner together and getting splashed with water during bath time at night, they told The Courier Mail.
But, at the same time it’s hard to forget the tragedy that unfolded in February this year and the last words they spoke to Hannah as she laid in the Royal Brisbane’s intensive care burns unit.
They, along with their son Nat, his wife Stacey and Hannah’s best friend Nikki Brooks gathered by her side to say goodbye. Little Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey had already passed away.
“Mum told me to hold her hand, but I couldn’t because I somehow thought if I toughed her burns I might hurt her,” Nat told The Courier Mail. “Silly isn’t it? But I just didn’t want her to hurt any more.”
Meanwhile, dad Lloyd said he had to control his anger and try to keep things peaceful during his daughter’s final moments. He told the Courier Mail he was pacing around the room swearing and shaking, but then looked at Hannah and remembered she needed peace.
“She was covered in a sheet up to her neck, with a veil covering her head, and I knew she needed peace, not anger,” he explained. “So I told her that I loved her, that she was my little girl and that I was so sorry I hadn’t been able to protect her.”
For Sue, she wanted to be close to her daughter and shared some comforting words before the life support was turned off.
“I kissed the top of her head, and told her that we loved her very much,” she told the Courier Mail. “I told her that she had been very, very brave, but it was time to go to her babies, that they needed her with them.”
They are difficult times to remember, but Hannah’s parents and brother and have been working hard to create change, including the establishment of a charity supporting the domestic violence sector.
It is known as Small Steps for Hannah and will help provide domestic violence victims with legal advice, safe harbour, financial support and simply someone to talk to when times get tough.
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.
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