‘He knew’: Killer dad’s final FaceTime

 

The brother of a mum who was burned to death along with her three children says the worst thing about Rowan Baxter's actions was that he made the family suffer.

Nathaniel Clarke told 7.30 that the thing that "cuts me the deepest" was that Baxter, his sister's estranged husband, made his wife and kids suffer.

 

 

"It wasn't quick. It was planned and executed," Mr Clarke told 7.30 last night.

"He had a plan that night when he called the kids and he was a blubbering mess. He knew what he was doing then. He had it all planned out, he knew what he was doing the following morning.

"He couldn't even do it quick. That's the worst thing. He made them suffer, and her."

A friend of the family, Simon Farmer, said Baxter was "very emotional, very upset" when he FaceTimed the kids the night before.

"Hannah noticed that there was a distinct change in terms of, whether we want to call it unravelling, but a heightened level of emotion," he told the program.

"He's crying. I don't know when something like that happens whether there's a number for her to call and go you might want to intervene here.

"You might want to go and send someone around or ring him preferably not a police officer with a badge but maybe some sort of support service at that point when she's noticed, I have a bloke unravelling here and he might be getting closer to the edge."

Mr Clarke was working in Central Queensland when his wife called last Wednesday with the devastating news.

His sister was in hospital fighting for her life after she was doused in petrol and set on fire by Baxter.

"At the time I didn't know how big all this was," Mr Clarke earlier told Triple M's Big Breakfast.

"I had been working, I wasn't on social media or anything.

"I sort of knew what happened - there had been an accident. My wife had called me to say, look, just come home, I knew sort of what happened, I just didn't know the whole world knew."

 

Nathaniel Clarke, brother to Hannah Clarke, speaks at a vigil to remember her. Picture: Jono Searle/Getty Images
Nathaniel Clarke, brother to Hannah Clarke, speaks at a vigil to remember her. Picture: Jono Searle/Getty Images

 

He was working more than 1000km away in Moranbah so had to tell his bosses he had to go.

"They were just like, 'Mate, you're on a plane straightaway. No if, buts, or maybes, we're getting you home even if we have to charter a plane for you'."

Mr Clarke said he found their reactions a "bit weird" and it wasn't until he returned home to Brisbane that he realised why.

Ms Clarke succumbed to her injuries that night after receiving burns to 90 per cent of her body.

Her three children Laianah, 4, Aaliyah, 6, and Trey, 3, all died at the scene.

Their father Rowan stabbed himself to death.

Ms Clarke's family said her injuries were so severe only her footprint could be recovered.

Mr Clarke told Nine's A Current Affair last week said they wanted her footprint to be a symbol for her and her legacy.

 

Rowan Baxter and Hannah Clarke with their children Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey.
Rowan Baxter and Hannah Clarke with their children Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey.

 

He told Triple M there were times they thought Baxter's behaviour was strange but they didn't think much of it.

"There were certain things he did that you sort of question … but you sort of let it slide," he said.

"I think that's the worse thing about this sort of domestic violence - they sort of make the other half play their part. My sister would always play it (his behaviour) down.

"The worst part of this type of abuse is that you can't see it. You get those feelings, but because you can't see it, you don't know.

"We look back now and we're like, 'Well what about this or that' and there were signs everywhere."

Mr Clarke said Baxter thought he was better than the police.

"At the end of the day domestic violence (order) is just a bit of paper, if they want to break it, they will," he said.

"We definitely got to look into being able to change that to some degree.

"I think with someone like that, they're just such a selfish and sadistic person that they've got win it, it's gotta be theirs."


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