Deputy state coroner Jane Bentley released her findings from the inquest into the murder of Hannah Clarke and her children.
They come after a two-week coronial inquest that was conducted in February and March with Ms Bentley revealing that “Rowan Baxter was not mentally ill” and efforts to stop him would have been unsuccessful.
“I find it unlikely that any further actions taken by police officers, service providers, friends or family members could have stopped Baxter from ultimately executing his murderous plans.
“When Baxter concluded he had lost control of Hannah, he killed her and her three children. He planned the deaths in the days prior.”
She also mentioned that despite making “numerous appointments for counselling and with doctors” he too was using them to gain back control.
“He did not have any wish to obtain counselling or address his problems; he manipulated doctors and psychologists.”
Hannah Clarke and her three children Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey were murdered by their husband and father Rowan Baxter in 2020 after he set alight the car Hannah and her kids were travelling in.
Ms Clarke suffered burns to 97 per cent of body and died later that day in hospital, while her children’s bodies were found in the car. Baxter stabbed himself and died at the scene.
While Ms Bentley mentioned most people wouldn’t have been able to stop him, she said that police officers did fail in certain areas.
“For example, he was not charged and put on bail for the breach of the domestic violence order and assault occasioning bodily harm. Instead, he was given a notice to appear [in court].”
Ms Bentley gave three recommendations to Queensland police in order to prevent such tragedies from happening again.
She has urged the state government to fund a five-day training program in domestic violence for specialist officers and provide yearly training for all police officers with demonstrations of domestic violence altercations.
Her third recommendation was to establish a domestic violence police station in Logan which would include personnel who specialise in health, law, child safety and domestic violence.
The parents of Hannah, Sue and Lloyd Clarke said they were “happy with the findings” but that more work needs to be done.
“We need the other states to look at what Queensland has started and are doing and they need to follow suit,” Lloyd Clarke said.
“It’s an uncomfortable conversation we’ve started but we all need to keep this conversation ongoing.”