Familicide: Hannah Clarke and Kids

Welcome back to the next category in my true crime series. This time is the first Familicide case that I’ve included on this blog. Familicide is a type of murder suicide in which one kills multiple close family members in quick succession. Today we’ll be looking at the case of Hannah Clarke and Her Kids.


Hannah met her New Zealand Born husband Rowan Baxter who was eleven years her senior, when she was only nineteen years old. Baxter was a former rugby player who played for the New Zealand Warriors and he was previously married to another woman. Hannah and Baxter got engaged in 2011 and got married in New South Wales in 2012. They had three children called Aaliyah (6), Laianah (4) and Trey (3). After the murders occurred, reports emerged that Hannah was being emotionally, physically, sexually and financially abused by Baxter during their marriage.

Baxter had a DVO (Domestic Violence Order) from 2019 after kidnapping Laianah on Boxing Day (26th December) 2019. He had previously rejected his attorneys advice in mediation and refused to sign a consent order offered by Hannah allowing him one hundred and sixty five days of custody a year. The Domestic Violence Order was varied in 2020 by giving him full access to his children. Hannah and Baxter then went to meditation where he refused to sign the consent order which would lock in who has custody of the children. He then signed a parental agreement that gave him the same level access but it was not legally binding. The full access was revoked in early that February when police charged him with breaching the DVO.

Timeline of Events

November 2019

Hannah returns home from the gym to find Baxter had taken the children and he turned his phone off.

21st or 22nd of December – A Week Until Christmas

He took the three children for four hours and refused to return them back to Hannah and family who were going to go and see a 96 year old woman from her family. Baxter would not answer his phone from 4:30pm which has a half an hour after he was supposed to give the kids back to Hannah. Hannah was forced to meet him at 8:30pm to have the children returned.

24th December

The Clarke’s allowed Baxter to see his children. Lloyd Clarke spoke to Baxter about his crazy behavior and it was ignored.

26th December

Hannah and her children met Baxter at Bulimba in Brisbane’s East to let the kids use the skateboards they got for Christmas. She was crossing the main street (Oxford Street), while holding Trey in one arm and a skateboard and helmet in the other while holding onto Aaliyah.
Baxter picked Laianah up as they were crossing the main street and ran to his car, and drove off. She was taken for four days and a Domestic Violence Order was taken out.

Late January or Early February

Hannah took Trey out of Baxter’s car and found multiple A4 pictures of herself in underwear. She scrunched up the pictures before Baxter got out of the car, at which point he grabbed her wrists and twisted her arms behind her back.
Suzanne Clarke called the police to report the Domestic Violence Order had been breached. As a result, he could not see his children anymore.

February – A Week Before The Murder Happened.

Hannah asked her mum if she should create a will out of fear that Baxter would kill her. She didn’t fear for her children’s lives but she felt she could be in danger.

18th February – The Night Before The Murder.

Baxter cries to Hannah and the children during a phone call. “Mum I feel so bad for him” she said, when the children hung up. The family described this incident as an example of the methods Baxter used in a long-running practice of manipulating Ms Clarke.

19th February – The Time of The Murder

Hannah was driving on Raven Street with her children when Baxter ambushed them and set them on fire.
She managed to get out of the car, where a good Samaritan did what they could do to help her.

Hannah with her 97% burns to her body, and Baxter were both taken to a hospital. The three children died at the scene. Before Hannah was sedated, she gave a detailed report to the police of everything that happened.

At 8:40pm on the 19th of February, Hannah passes away from her injuries.

20th February

Authorities confirm that Baxter doused his family in petrol as they sat in the car ready for school, before lighting them on fire and taking his own life.
Police reveal that there had been reports of Domestic Violence before Baxter killed his family.

Inquest Findings

A coroner who was investigating the deaths of Hannah and her children recognized the mother’s “astounding” bravery by saying, it was unlikely anyone could have stopped Baxter murderous plans.
Jane Bentley, the coroner, said Baxter was not mentally ill but a “master of manipulation”. She said “I find it unlikely that any further actions taken by police officers, service providers, friends or family members could have stopped Baxter from executing his murderous plans” she added.

The 42 year old (Baxter) spashed fuel inside the car and set it all alight, before stabbing himself with a knife, dying close by. The childrens bodies were found in the car, while Hannah died in hospital, on the same day.

Jane Bentley, said police training required “immediate attention” to prevent similar deaths occurring.

Her recommendations included a five-day face-to-face training program for specialist domestic violence police officers “as a matter of urgency”, a mandatory face-to-face domestic violence module for all officers and state government funding provided urgently for men’s behavior change programs in prisons and communities.

Everyone at the inquest was shown CCTV footage of Baxter buying zip ties, cleaning fluid and a gas can days before the killings happened. He also bought three Kinder Surprises (for his children) when he bought the fuel.

Counsel assisting the coroner Jacoba Brasch QC told the hearing Baxter may have initially intended to kidnap Clarke, burn her, then give his children chocolates and it “would all be happy families”. But he turned to “plan B” once the 31-year-old defied him by asking a random person for help when Baxter ambushed her, she said.

Love, Bee xxx

One thought on “Familicide: Hannah Clarke and Kids

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Looks Blog by Crimson Themes.