Hannah Clarke’s mum says daughter and grandchildren would still be alive if there was one law change


Hannah Clarke’s mum says her daughter and grandchildren would still be alive today if there was one simple change to the law – as she marks nine months since the murders that shocked the nation

  • Sue Clarke said her daughter Hannah and grandchildren could still be alive 
  • She said if coercive control was criminalised Rowan Baxter would’ve been jailed
  • Mother said the nine months since daughter’s death hasn’t become any easier
  • 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) 

The mother of Hannah Clarke believes coercive control laws would have saved her daughter’s life – as she marks nine months since the family was brutally murdered.

Sue Clarke lost her daughter and three of her grandchildren when Hannah’s estranged husband Rowan Charles Baxter ambushed the family on their morning school run in Brisbane on February 19. 

Baxter doused their car in petrol and set them on fire killing Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three.

Hannah, 31, jumped from the driver’s seat of her car screaming ‘he’s poured petrol on me’ and later died in hospital with burns to 97 per cent of her body. 

Baxter told residents not to help his children out of the burning car, before he stabbed himself to death.

In the months since the tragedy, Mrs Clarke has been vocal about the incidences and severity of domestic violence in Australia, in an attempt to make positive change. 

Rowan Baxter ambushed estranged wife Hannah and their children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3, (pictured) on their morning school run at Camp Hill in Brisbane

She told A Current Affair that her daughter’s abuse began with coercive control.

‘It started with he made her close her Facebook page, and they would have a joint one. He convinced her they had the same friends and post the same things,’ she said.

‘But it was a form of control’.

Mrs Clarke said she would like to see laws around the country against that prohibit coercive control. 

‘I feel I would have my daughter and grandchildren if that was legislated here now,’ she said. 

‘He [Baxter] would be in jail.’  

Sue Clarke (pictured) says coercive control laws could have saved her daughter's life

Sue Clarke (pictured) says coercive control laws could have saved her daughter’s life 

Tasmania is currently the only state where coercive control is a criminal offence, while Queensland has announced they intend to do the same.

Mrs Clarke said she wanted to be able to save at least one person from the horrors that Hannah experienced

Mrs Clarke said she wanted to be able to save at least one person from the horrors that Hannah experienced 

Mrs Clarke suggested using a checklist to determine what identifies an offender, similar to that in Scotland. 

The grandmother was overcome with emotion when she was asked if the nine months that have passed since losing her daughter and grandchildren have gotten any easier.

But she attested speaking out against domestic violence was therapeutic to her grieving.

Mrs Clarke said she wanted to be able to save at least one person from the horrors that Hannah experienced.

‘It is probably her speaking. I am not a very brave person and I don’t like getting up in front of people but she loved it,’ Mrs Clarke said.

She said it feels like her daughter is pushing her to make positive change. 



Queensland Police officers are called to a family violence incident that allegedly involved the couple.


Rowan Charles Baxter, 42, is spotted filling a jerry can with fuel at a local service station. 


Baxter dives into his estranged wife Hannah Clarke’s white Kia Sportage as she was preparing to do the school drop off on Raven Street, Camp Hill, a wealthy suburb of Brisbane.

He douses Ms Clarke, 31, and their three children – Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three – in petrol and sets the car alight. 

Neighbours hear an explosion which sounded like a ‘gas bottle’ blast. At least four explosions followed. 

Baxter grabs a knife from the SUV and stabs himself in the chest.

He tries to stop neighbours from saving his wife and children before dying in the street.

Ms Clarke escapes the burning car and screams: ‘He’s poured petrol on me.’ 

Horrified witnesses see her skin peeling off her body.

One heroic neighbour hoses her down in an attempt to save her life and suffers burns himself. 

She is rushed to Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in a critical condition.   


Ms Clarke dies in hospital from the horrendous burns she suffered in the quadruple murder suicide.



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