Graphic for Hannah Baxter texts yarn in The Courier-Mail.
Graphic for Hannah Baxter texts yarn in The Courier-Mail.

Texts of heartbreak reveal a mum living in terror

MURDERED Brisbane mum Hannah Clarke told a relative of her estranged husband that she was "struggling" but "safe" and recounted a horrific story of him kidnapping one of her daughters and fleeing interstate.

She told the relative she had a domestic violence order in place but was living in fear of her children's father.

Hannah and her three children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3, were burnt alive in a car fire at Camp Hill yesterday which was deliberately lit by her estranged husband Rowan Baxter. He stabbed himself in the chest and also died at the horrific scene.

 

 

In a series of messages obtained by The Courier-Mail, a family member of Rowan Baxter repeatedly reassured Hannah she'd done the right thing in leaving.

"I'm so glad I got out when I did," Hannah wrote to the woman earlier this month.

"I'm OK, struggling, but I know I've made the right decision.

"I'm safe, I'm with my parents who are very, very normal. I'm just so glad I got out when I did. And I'm so glad you reached out to me."

Horrific details are emerging of Rowan's controlling and possessive behaviour.

The relative said Hannah told her many times that she was living in fear of him and worried for the safety of her children.

Hannah Baxter with her children Trey, Laianah and Aaliyah.
Hannah Baxter with her children Trey, Laianah and Aaliyah.

She told her about an incident where Rowan had taken their daughter and fled to a friend in New South Wales, where he remained until police found him.

"He took her off me in the street because I said the kids couldn't stay with him until we had a court order," she wrote in the texts.

"He got the shits and picked her up and threw her in his car.

"He took her to Pottsville where his friends live. I had to get the police to get her back.

"I have a DVO against him."

Hannah Baxter (centre left) and her children Trey (left), Laianah (centre right) and Aaliyah (right). Picture: Facebook
Hannah Baxter (centre left) and her children Trey (left), Laianah (centre right) and Aaliyah (right). Picture: Facebook

The woman described her family as "dysfunctional" and said more needed to be done to break cycles of abuse.

"I knew it was going to happen," she said through tears.

"I tried so hard. I tried. I knew. I knew from the last time we spoke.

"I knew from all his family history."

She said she reached out to Hannah just three days ago, asking "are you safe?" but got no reply.

The woman said Rowan had set up the gym the couple ran in order to keep a constant eye on her.

"The only reason he had that business was to control her, to know where she would be at all times - at the gym," she said.

Rowan and Hannah Baxter with their children Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey outside their Integr8 gym. Picture: Facebook
Rowan and Hannah Baxter with their children Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey outside their Integr8 gym. Picture: Facebook

After Hannah left, he continued to harass and stalk her, the woman said.

"(He operated on) fear and control," she said.

"One of the recent (things he did) was he cut up hundreds of photos of her. They were all on the back seat of his car. And he made sure she saw it.

"He kept walking past her at work.

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

"I raised the red flag and said to family members, go and see that crazy c---, go and do a mental health check.

"My exact words to them were, this is not going to end well.

"It's just so sad. She just kept using the word 'fear'."

She said Hannah met Rowan when she was just 19. He was 11 years her senior and had already had a son with a former partner.

"She said, I didn't know any better. I didn't know what life was until I finally escaped from him.

"But then she didn't escape. I think her parents should have just ended up barricading that house.

The burnt out car. (AAP image, John Gass)
The burnt out car. (AAP image, John Gass)

"That is the thing with people like Rowan … you just can't get away from them.

"I just want Hannah's story to be told, because there's a million (people like her).

"Enough is enough."