Police knew of domestic violence incidents before murder-suicide

Police have confirmed they were aware of previous domestic violence incidents faced by a Brisbane woman who was killed by her estranged husband along with her children in a horrific car fire.

Hannah Baxter, 31, along with her children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3, died when their car was set alight in Camp Hill on Wednesday morning. 

The children died at the scene while Ms Baxter succumbed to her injuries in hospital several hours later.


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Rowan Baxter was also pronounced dead at the scene in what Police have finally confirmed is being treated as a murder-suicide.

“At this point in time, information that’s at hand has led us to believe that the Baxter children and Hannah were killed and I don’t believe there are any suspicious circumstances around the death of Rowan Baxter,” Detective Inspector Mark Thompson said.

Police say they are awaiting the results of a post mortem examination on Mr Baxter to determine exactly how he died, amid reports he stabbed himself in the chest with a knife.

“We believe at this point in time he’s succumbed to injuries from the fire and a self-inflicted injury as well, but again, that is yet to be confirmed,” Det. Inspector Thompson.

Detectives say they are also awaiting the results of forensic tests on the vehicle to confirm reports petrol was poured inside the vehicle before it was ignited.

“We don’t have a clear definitive answer on that but from what I am seeing, I believe an accelerant has been used.”

Det. Inspector Thomspon says they are starting to get a clearer picture of the moments leading up to the tragedy but would not elaborate on their movements as they compile a brief of evidence for the coroner.

Rowan Baxter

Police say the couple was known to Police and that Mr Baxter was the subject of a domestic violence order.

Newscorp reports Mr Baxter was charged with breaching that order but was allowed to walk free from court last month.

“I can confirm that Queensland Police have engaged with both Hannah and her estranged husband in relation to domestic violence issues,” Det. Inspector Thompson said.

“We’ve also engaged with both of the parties in referring them to support services.

“When it comes to Hannah, we have dealt with her on a number of occasions, we have actively worked with the Brisbane Domestic Violence Centre in supporting Hannah throughout her family issues and we’ve also referred Rowan Baxter to support services as well.”

Related: Grandfather says killer dad was scum

Police have played down reports that one of the children was kidnapped by Mr Baxter in December and taken interstate.

“We are aware of the movement of the children over the last couple of months, (but) I can’t say we are investigating a kidnapping.

“The dynamics of a family that are broken and estranged are particularity poignant in this investigation and they’re very hard to decipher without being able to put some clarification over what’s happened.”

Police are urging anyone who knew the family to speak with detectives so they can paint a better picture about the family dynamic.

If you are in immediate danger call 000 now.  If you require advice or assistance, the following services offer counselling and support.
Lifeline 24/7 telephone crisis support 13 11 14
DV Connect Queensland Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 phone 1800 811 811
1800RESPECT 24/7 phone 1800 737 732
Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast