Content warning: This article mentions domestic violence.
Bodycam footage of a distraught Hannah Clarke speaking to police after her “psycho” husband abducted one of their children has been shown during the coronial inquest into her and her children’s deaths.
The inquest is examining the 2020 deaths of Ms Clarke and her three children – Aaliyah, Laianah, and Trey – and her estranged husband Rowan Baxter, who set the family alight in a car on a suburban street, as reported by 7News.
In the footage, Ms Clarke spoke to officers when her husband drove off with one of their three children after the family met at a Brisbane park on Boxing Day in 2019.
Ms Clarke said she and Mr Baxter had been separated for a few weeks but that she feared getting a domestic violence order against him, fearing it would worsen the situation.
She said she refused to let Mr Baxter have the kids overnight out of fear he wouldn’t return them to her, and that Mr Baxter then put four-year-old Laianah in a car and drove off.
“Now he’s telling me he won’t give her back … because I’ve said to him you need to wait till we can get this sorted, you’re not having them stay with you because you won’t return them,” Ms Clarke told police.
“The other two are absolutely beside themselves.She’s (Laianah’s) balling her eyes out.
“(He’s) just a psycho, (saying) that he’s taking her and that’s it.
“He’s just called me now and said you either bring the other two back or I keep her.
“They were in my care.
“I was doing good by letting them see him.”
She also explained why didn’t take out a legal order against him, despite having spoken to police about him previously.
“The only reason I didn’t was because I was scared it would antagonise the situation more,” she said.
Tragically, one of the officers told her there was nothing they could do.
“Without any orders in place, there’s not a great deal we can do in relation to the custody of the children,” the officer said in the video.
“Being the biological father, he does have a right to the child. We can’t just go and take the child.”
Ms Clarke then asked, “Even though he’s taken her away from me when they were in my care?”
“Yeah, unfortunately, because he is the biological father of the child, we can’t just go and seize the child and give her back to you,” the officer explained.
Ms Clarke said the situation was “messed up” and detailed some of Mr Baxter’s treatment of her.
“There’s been a lot of domestic violence. Not physical, but emotional. Controlling me et cetera. So it just got too much, I just couldn’t do it anymore,” she said.
“So I took the kids and we left.”
Mr Baxter took Laianah for two days before she was returned to Ms Clarke due to police intervention.
A police protection notice was placed against Mr Baxter three days later, starting the process for Ms Clarke to get a permanent domestic violence order against him.
He then breached a temporary order on January 31 when he grabbed Ms Clarke’s wrist during an altercation at her parents’ home while dropping off their son.
On Tuesday, the inquest also heard from members of the Queensland Police and the Queensland Police Union, who appeared before Queensland Coroners Court.
The footage is available to view here.
This article first appeared on OverSixty.