Slain mum’s heroic final act in hospital

 

Before murdered mother Hannah Clarke died on her hospital bed, she revealed her "amazing courage and heroism" after being ambushed and burned alive along with her three children by her estranged husband.

As she lay there with burns to 97 per cent of her body, she was on the verge of losing consciousness when she committed to a final act of defiance against her abusive husband Rowan Baxter.

Her family said that before she passed out in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital she told police everything she could muster to ensure her husband would be brought to justice if he survived.

"To the end she fought to make sure if he survived he got punished for doing it to her babies," her brother Lloyd told A Current Affair. "She was so brave. She did everything for those kids."

At a vigil for the 31-year-old slain mother yesterday, it was revealed that she dreamt of becoming a police officer one day.

Hannah Clarke told police everything she could before passing out on her hospital bed.
Hannah Clarke told police everything she could before passing out on her hospital bed.

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the courage and heroism Ms Clarke showed in the moments before her death were the makings of an excellent officer.

"Right through to her passing, Hannah showed amazing courage and heroism, ensuring that she gave our police and emergency services at the scene a detailed statement of the horrific events that unfolded, leading to the death of her three children and ultimately herself," Commissioner Carroll said.

"Hannah's determination to provide our police the information they needed to ensure justice should be served truly encapsulates the sort of person Hannah was. She was strong, she was determined, she was courageous.

"How lucky we would have been in the Queensland Police to have welcomed someone with those attributes into our policing family."

Simon Farmer, a family friend who was with Hannah in the Intensive Care Unit when she died, said she battled right to the end.

"She hung in there … Until the last heartbeat brought a tidal wave of grief and anger," he wrote on social media.

Ms Clarke said she had ambitions of becoming a police officer.
Ms Clarke said she had ambitions of becoming a police officer.

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

However, he told The Australian he knew there was "no hope" of her surviving the horrific burns to 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.

Ms Clarke and her children Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey 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 on Wednesday.

Hannah's best friends Nikki Brooks and Lou Farmer told Sunrise today they want to honour their friend's legacy in their fight to address the issue of domestic violence in Australia.

"We can't let their faces fade … not another family, not another tragedy," Lou said.

"By the time they're abusive husbands, I think we're already dancing with the devil," Nikki said.

"The boys aren't OK and I want to fix the boys."

Hundreds turned out to pay respect to the murdered family yesterday. Picture: Jono Searle/Getty Images
Hundreds turned out to pay respect to the murdered family yesterday. Picture: Jono Searle/Getty Images

During a vigil yesterday Ms Clarke's father praised the community for supporting his family.

"This has been the worst week of our lives," he said. "We would have felt lost without all your support. 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.

For Ms Clarke's long-time friend Ms Brooks, the grief she felt led to a call for action against domestic violence.

She called for the community to not turn a blind eye.

"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."

With AAP



New hospital set to open ahead of winter Covid-19 clusters

premium_icon New hospital set to open ahead of winter Covid-19 clusters

News comes with 46 Covid-19 cases confirmed on the Mid North Coast.

World-class Covid response plays out in our own backyard

premium_icon World-class Covid response plays out in our own backyard

This proactive community has jumped into action.

Coronavirus NSW: All you need to know today

Coronavirus NSW: All you need to know today

Cruise ship deaths, long queues at the border, questions over tests