Hannah Clarke’s landlord ‘demanded she keep paying rent’ on the home she fled in fear of her husband – weeks before the jealous coward burned her and their three young kids to death
- Hannah Clarke was ordered to continue paying rent after fleeing her husband
- Sue Clarke opened up about hurdles daughter faced after leaving Rowan Baxter
- Legal battle with real estate settled two days before Hannah and her kids killed
Hannah Clarke was ordered to continue paying rent after fleeing her abusive and controlling husband, her mother claims.
Sue Clarke said her brave daughter was shunned by friends in her final weeks alive after leaving the man who would later kill her and their three young children.
Rowan Baxter, 42, doused Hannah, 31, and their children Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three, in petrol and set their car alight around the corner from her parent’s home in Brisbane‘s south in February in a crime that that shocked Australia.
A dying but still conscious Hannah courageously gave police a detailed statement at the scene about what happened hours before she died in hospital.
Her estranged husband died at the scene from self-inflicted knife wounds as he tried to stop neighbours from dousing the flames.
Hannah Clarke has ordered by the real estate to continue paying rent after fleeing the home she shared with violent husband Rowan Baxter.The matter was finalised two days before he killed his estranged wife and their three children
Hannah’s mum Sue Clarke has since become an outspoken advocate for domestic violence awareness to give victims a voice.
Hannah faced many challenges in the weeks prior to her tragic death, including a demand from the real estate agency to continue paying her half of the rent after fleeing the marital home she shared with her controlling and abusive husband.
The legal battle to get her name off the lease was finalised in court just two days before Hannah and her children were killed.
‘She rang them and spoke to them, had a letter sent to them explaining it and they still did that,’ Ms Clarke told the Courier Mail.
‘It was terrible, just horrific, that they did that to her.’
Hannah’s heartbroken parents Lloyd and Sue Clarke at a vigil for their daughter in February. Sue has since become a strong advocate for domestic violence awareness
She also said her daughter was shunned by some friends after Baxter posted slurs about her on social media.
The snub by friends left Hannah in tears.
‘Some never even checked. They just supported him. You’d think you’d at least say, `oh, this doesn’t sound like you’ or ask what’s happening,’ Ms Clarke said.
‘The poor kid died thinking people had left her.’
Ms Clarke has since joined forces with Beyond DV where she now educates girls and young women by sharing her daughter’s harrowing story.
She’s speaking out in lead up to White Ribbon Day, which is November 20.
Hannah Clarke (pictured with children Trey, Aaliyah and Laianah) was murdered by her estranged husband Rowan Baxter, who posted slurs about her on social media
Hannah Baxter, 31, and her children Aaliyah, 6, Lainah, 4, and Trey, 3, died after they were doused in petrol and set alight in Brisbane in February. Pictured is the burnt out car
Earlier this week, Hannah was posthumously honoured in the inaugural Marie Claire Women of the Year list for her incredible bravery and resilience to ensure her story was told during the final hours of her life.
‘Though she had burns to 97 per cent of her body, Hannah still managed to give police a clear and articulate statement,’ Ms Clarke said.
‘She pushed herself to repeat it; the police were in awe. It was truly to make him pay – she was going to fight for her babies to the end.’
Hannah is recognised for her strength in bringing nationwide attention to coercive control – the insidious form of domestic violence that subjects victims to psychological abuse.
Before Hannah and the kids were murdered, they had moved into her parents house to escape Baxter’s controlling behaviour.
Left: Hannah Clarke pictured with her ‘main man’, son Trey in a beach snap. Right: Mrs Baxter on her wedding with her husband
Marie Claire editor Nicky Briger said people do not realise how much courage Hannah had in her final moments and the impact of her actions in the fight against domestic violence.
‘Because of Hannah, coercive control was given nationwide attention, and now her parents – Sue and Lloyd – are carrying on her legacy by fighting to make coercive control a crime in Australia,’ she said.
Hannah’s parents have established a foundation to raise awareness about controlling relationships and to criminalise coercive control.
Hannah watched Baxter (left) kill their three children after he ambushed the family on their morning school run in Brisbane in February
‘Hannah’s story has already changed so many lives – people who didn’t understand what coercive control was have now realised they are actually in an abusive relationship,’ Lloyd Clarke, Hannah’s father, said.
Mrs Clarke said she was honoured that Marie Claire had chosen to include her daughter in the inaugural listing.
‘Hannah was so happy and proud to be a mum, and she would be so honoured to be considered one of the Women of the Year, simply for doing what came naturally to her.
‘We’ve always known how strong and inspirational she is, and we’re so grateful that others are recognising that too.’
Ms Briger said Hannah Clarke was typical of the inspiring women who defined the 2020 Women Of the Year list – everyday Australians who are making a difference in these extraordinary times.
Beyond DV posted a heartfelt message to Hannah’s parents following the accolade.
‘This is such a beautiful, fitting tribute to Hannah. Her courage will never be forgotten, her story will live on through you and will change the way our communities protect their women and children. We’re with you all the way.
Marie Claire and its publisher, Are Media, have formed a coalition of legal advocates and domestic violence groups to demand that Australian legislators criminalise coercive control.
To support the campaign, sign the petition at coercivecontrol.com.au.
National Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Counselling Service 24-hour helpline 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732
A floral tribute to Hannah Clarke and her three children in Camp Hill, Brisbane