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A relative of the mother and three children killed in a horrific car fire says the man who set them alight was a "monster" the family had been desperately trying to escape.
Three children, Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3, were found dead inside the burning vehicle on Raven St in Brisbane's Camp Hill after police were called to the scene about 8.30am on Wednesday. The mother of the children, Hannah Baxter, 31, was rushed to hospital but later died of her injuries.
According to witnesses, the father, Rowan Baxter, 42, jumped into his estranged wife's car while she was on the school run and set it on fire before yelling at bystanders to stop helping, then stabbed himself to death. He was declared dead on site after emergency crews attempted to revive him, reports news.com.au.
The slain mother's sister-in-law Stacey Roberts said Hannah Baxter's parents had "exhausted themselves" trying to "help Hannah escape this monster" and asked for donations to help cover funeral costs via a fundraiser set up overnight.
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• Former Warrior Rowan Baxter's wife Hannah Baxter dies after fire that killed couple's three kids
"As you may be aware my beautiful sister in-law and my nieces and nephew had their lives taken by a disgusting human being they called their father," Roberts wrote on the fundraising page, which had raised more than $5000 within hours of going live.
"For all those who knew Hannah or had even just met her once would know how much of a beautiful soul she was, her children were her life.
"All she ever wanted was happiness. Her children were only a reflection of her. Gorgeous, happy kids who held a massive piece in my heart and I'm sure many others because that's exactly what they were like.
"We will miss them all more than anything."
Rowan Baxter reportedly purchased a jerrycan of fuel from a nearby petrol station which he used to ignite the fire.
Another resident dragged Hannah Baxter out of the car as she screamed: "he's poured petrol on me" but she died in hospital hours later.
The witness told The Australian that Hannah Baxter was "rolling on the footpath in flames". Another described seeing skin "peeling off her (with) ... bits hanging off", according to The Courier Mail.
Neighbour Aaron Snell told the newspaper that Rowan Baxter tried to stop bystanders from extinguishing the flames.
"He was protesting to stop (us) putting it out," Snell said.
"He was so angry and just going absolutely crazy.
"It appeared like he wanted it to burn."
He said Rowan Baxter was in "all manner of states" and jumped into the flaming car to grab a knife while neighbours tried to help.
Hannah Baxter and her three children had been staying with her parents in Camp Hill after leaving her husband late last year.
Family friend Brian Cavanagh described the incident as "beyond comprehension".
"I couldn't figure out how come Hannah was in the car with him," he said.
It is understood Rowan Baxter, a former New Zealand Warriors player, was in a custody battle with his wife, according to The Courier-Mail.
Rowan Baxter's recent posts on Facebook all revolve around his children, with him sharing multiple photos of the kids and writing, "Daddy loves you."
One of his Facebook friends posted on one of his photos telling him to "chin up".
"... everything will work out just hang in there my bro a lot of people care about you and the situation your facing," he wrote.
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.
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
• 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.
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