The family of Hannah Clarke have revealed shocking insights into the controlling behaviour Rowan Baxter used against their daughter in a heartbreaking interview after her death.

Speaking with Nine's A Current Affair, Clarke's parents Lloyd and Suzanne Clarke and her brother Nathaniel gave an insight into her life and the lengths she went to protect her children from their father.

Suzanne revealed that Hannah feared her estranged husband Rowan Baxter would kill her and asked her mum last week: "What happens to my babies if he kills me?"

Hannah's mum was unequivocal in her assessment of Baxter, saying simply "he was evil" and had "manipulated" her daughter Hannah and tried to control her life.


In early January, Baxter was given a DVO by a Brisbane court for kidnapping one of their children and taking her interstate against Hannah's wishes.

Hannah Baxter with her 3-year-old son Trey. Photo / Supplied
Hannah Baxter with her 3-year-old son Trey. Photo / Supplied

"Not all domestic abuse is physical," Hannah's brother Nathaniel told the program. "Mental is probably one of the hardest things to pick up on.

"Even Hannah, for a few years there she said to me "I was thinking it wasn't abuse because he never hit me."

The family claimed he stalked Hannah through her mobile and knew where she was at all times. Baxter also forced her to have sex with him every night and made sure she wasn't on the pill leading to the "surprise" of her third child.

"She wasn't allowed to wear bikinis, she works in the fitness industry and wasn't allowed to wear shorts. She had to cover up," Suzanne said.

Car-fire murders: Killer who torched his family was a 'master manipulator', victim's parents say
Car-fire murders: Cop kicked off Warriors player Rowan Baxter killing case after furious backlash
Car-fire murders: Hannah Clarke suffered 'daily sexual abuse'
Car-fire murders: Police under fire for questioning whether Rowan Baxter 'driven too far'

"In the beginning we thought he was a prude, but in hindsight we know there was more to it than that. He was controlling. It was Rowan's way or the highway."

"She had to grovel and then he would forgive her. She was petrified.


"He could manipulate her. The night before he killed them he was on the phone to the children crying and she hung up or the children hung up she said to me 'Mum I feel so bad for him'."


An empowering note Hannah Clarke wrote to herself and her young daughters has moved one of Australia's top TV journalists to tears.

In an emotional interview with Clarke's devastated family, Tracy Grimshaw, the seasoned host of primetime show A Current Affair, had just heard how the young mother-of-three had agonised over whether to leave her abusive Kiwi husband, Rowan Baxter.

"She said to me before she left, 'Mum, I'm 31. Do I stay here and just be miserable forever or do I get out and try to get a life?' Clarke's mother Suzanne Clarke said.

"I said, 'Honey you've got to get out.' That's when we started to make plans."

Clarke, 31, and her children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3, were killed when 42-year-old Baxter torched the family car on a quiet suburban street in Brisbane before taking his own life.

But just before her death, Clarke had written an emotional promise to herself on Instagram, laying out her grand plans for a new, happier life.

Tracy Grimshaw was moved to tears when she interviewed Hannah Clarke's parents. Photo / Getty Images
Tracy Grimshaw was moved to tears when she interviewed Hannah Clarke's parents. Photo / Getty Images

"Lloyd, she posted something on social media. You have it on your phone. Do you feel up to reading it?" Grimshaw asked Clarke's father.

"No, I don't think I can," he said.

"Let me read it," Grimshaw volunteered.

"I am a strong woman, I don't sit around feeling sorry for myself nor will I ever let anyone mistreat me again," Clarke had written.

"I don't respond to people who dictate to me or try to bring me down. I am a survivor not a victim.

"I am in control of my life and there is nothing I can't achieve. My girls will grow up being strong women who understand their worth."

It was those heartbreaking words that brought tears to Grimshaw's eyes and to those of viewers at home.


Clarke's family gave a thorough description of Hannah's troubled marriage, from the rules she was forced to follow, to an incident on Boxing Day when Baxter kidnapped one of the children and took them interstate.

But in one last "brave" act for her children, they revealed Hannah was able to give an "articulate" and "detailed" account of the attack to first responders before she died.

They said after she got out of the car, she rolled on the ground, trying to put the fire out. She then yelled out to a neighbour who was watering the grass, "Help me, I'm covered in petrol".

Former rugby league player Rowan Baxter with his children in Brisbane last month. Photo / Supplied
Former rugby league player Rowan Baxter with his children in Brisbane last month. Photo / Supplied

She managed to give a detailed account to both medical workers and police, "almost like a police report", they said.

"To the end she fought to make sure if he survived he got punished for what he did to her babies. She was so brave," her father Lloyd said.

After suffering burns to 97 per cent of her body, Hannah was rushed to hospital in a critical condition but died of her injuries later that night.

"I didn't know she'd been able to be that detailed," Grimshaw commented.

The family said she made sure to provide "as much information as possible" before she was sedated.

The Clarke family now want to start a new movement in Hannah's name called "Small Steps for Hannah" based off the fact only her footprint remained.

"My sister was so badly burnt that the soles of her feet were only part of her body that weren't burnt," Nathaniel said.

"So we want the symbol of her foot to be a symbol for her and her legacy. We want to try and start something to help women who are in this situation who have suffered domestic abuse, mentally, physically, sexually."


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

• For more info or to web chat visit

Alternatively contact your local police station -


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

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

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

• 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:

• National Network of Stopping Violence:

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

How to hide your visit

If you are reading this information on the


website and you're worried that someone using the same computer will find out what you've been looking at, you can follow the steps at the link

to hide your visit. Each of the websites above also have a section that outlines this process.

Where to get help:
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youth services: (06) 3555 906
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
CASPER Suicide Prevention
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.