Car-fire murders: Memorial vigil held for Hannah Clarke and children

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Mon, 24 Feb 2020, 12:12PM
Hannah Clarke's parents attend the memorial to their daughter and grandchildren. (Photo / Getty)
Hannah Clarke's parents attend the memorial to their daughter and grandchildren. (Photo / Getty)

Car-fire murders: Memorial vigil held for Hannah Clarke and children

Author
news.com.au,
Publish Date
Mon, 24 Feb 2020, 12:12PM

A heartbroken community on Sunday evening stood by the family and friends of Ms Clarke and her children Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey who were killed at the hands of Rowan Baxter.

Baxter murdered his children and former partner by setting the car they were in alight while Hannah was doing the morning school run.

About 1000 people gathered in a south Brisbane park for Sunday evening's vigil.

Hannah Clarke and her children were murdered by Rowan Baxter while they were doing the school run in Brisbane. Photo / Supplied

Hannah Clarke and her children were murdered by Rowan Baxter while they were doing the school run in Brisbane. Photo / Supplied

Friend Simon Farmer spoke to The Australian about Ms Clarke's final hours in hospital, after she had suffered burns to 97 per cent of her body.

"We were in the ICU and we knew there was no hope,'' Mr Farmer told The Australian.

"The nurse held up the footprint and said, 'This is all we could get'. It was just an incredibly powerful moment.''

The day after Ms Clarke's murder, Mr Farmer posted on Facebook about the "unease" shared among her friends about "what Rowan might do".

"He had it in him many thought," Mr Farmer posted.

Mr Farmer said Baxter loved his children, but "we can't remember him as a loving father because his final act is what defines this man, this man who became a monster".

He also talked about Ms Clarke's final hours in hospital after the tragedy.

"She hung in there too ... until the last heartbeat brought a tidal wave of grief and anger. I'll never forget that.

"You should all know how strong she was, she fought so hard."

Lloyd and Nathaniel Clarke, father and brother to Hannah Clarke, speak at a vigil to remember her and her children. Photo / Getty Images

Lloyd and Nathaniel Clarke, father and brother to Hannah Clarke, speak at a vigil to remember her and her children. Photo / Getty Images

Dressed in pink, Hannah's father Lloyd and brother Nat, thanked the crowd for their support.

"We would have felt lost without all your support," Lloyd Clarke said.

"I don't know how we can repay such kindness."

Many who addressed the crowd spoke of Hannah's courage and love.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said Hannah was able to give a detailed account of the attack while fighting for her life.

While many tried to remember the best of Ms Clarke and her children, many could not hide their grief over one of the state's worst acts of domestic violence.

Mourners attend a vigil to remember murdered mother, Hannah Clarke and her three children at Bill Hewitt Reserve in Camp Hill in Brisbane. Photo / Getty Images

Mourners attend a vigil to remember murdered mother, Hannah Clarke and her three children at Bill Hewitt Reserve in Camp Hill in Brisbane. Photo / Getty Images

The children died at the scene while Hannah died in hospital. Baxter died from self-inflicted injuries, say police.

A mass of flowers and children's toys were laid at the front of the vigil, while hundreds of condolence messages have been written by a community still in shock.

Nikki Brookes was a friend of Ms Clarke, and had to hold back tears as she addressed the crowd. She called for the community to not turn a blind eye to domestic violence.

"We are a nation in pain," she said.

"Don't back away from your friends for the sake of convenience. "Time's up on domestic violence."

It emerged at the weekend that Baxter rejected his lawyer's advice during a mediation session with Clarke and refused to sign the order that would allow him 165 days of custody per year.

Instead, Baxter signed a non-legally binding agreement that gave him just as much access to the children as their mother.

However, he lost access to his children in early February when police charged him with breaching a domestic violence order (DVO).

"He got the children back but … he wanted 50-50, that was it. It was his way or nothing," the source told the ABC.

"In my view, it wasn't about the children at all, he just couldn't move past the relationship with Hannah."

The Clarke family say more needs to be done to ensure victims are better protected from their abusers, and are hoping to establish a support system for women suffering at the hands of domestic violence.

Lloyd and Suzanne Clarke, parents to Hannah Clarke, attend a vigil to remember murdered mother, Hannah Clarke and her three children. Photo / Getty Images

Lloyd and Suzanne Clarke, parents to Hannah Clarke, attend a vigil to remember murdered mother, Hannah Clarke and her three children. Photo / Getty Images

Following news of the shocking Brisbane attack, officials have reported a surge in the number of men seeking help to stop committing domestic violence in Queensland.

The shocking attack has seen more people turn to domestic violence services for help, Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Minister Di Farmer says.

"I've spoken with many people who work in the DFV sector and everyone has been absolutely devastated by the deaths of Hannah and her little babies," Ms Farmer told AAP.

"But they've also said that in the past few days, they've seen an incredible surge in calls from people asking for help – and importantly, from people asking for help to stop being violent."

SEXUAL HARM - DO YOU NEED HELP?

If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone contact Safe to Talk confidentially:

  • Call 0800 044 334
  • Text 4334
  • Email [email protected]
  • For more info or to web chat visit www.safetotalk.nz

Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - DO YOU NEED HELP?

If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

If you're in danger now:

  • Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
  • Run outside and head for where there are other people.
  • Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
  • Take the children with you.
  • Don't stop to get anything else.
  • If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

  • Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843

www.womensrefuge.org.nz

  • Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633

www.2shine.org.nz

  • It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450

www.areyouok.org.nz

  • Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
  • Ministry of Justice:

www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence

  • National Network of Stopping Violence:

www.nnsvs.org.nz

  • White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent.

www.whiteribbon.org.nz

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Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
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• CASPER Suicide Prevention
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.