Rowan Baxter's history of domestic violence: More details emerge

The man who set his estranged wife and three children alight in a horrific murder-suicide had allegedly made plans to murder family members before.

Rowan Baxter, who grew up in Tauranga, set fire to his wife Hannah Clarke and the couple's children in their car at Camp Hill, Brisbane, on February 19. Laianah, four, Aaliyah, six, and Trey, three, died in the blaze. Clarke succumbed to horrific burns in hospital later that day while Baxter died by suicide at the scene. 

In an interview with The Australian, Clarke's friend Nikki Brooks shared horrifying details about the 42-year-old father-of-four and his history of violence. 

Brooks alleges Baxter had previously plotted to kill his oldest, surviving son Isaiah, now 22, and his mother, Baxter's ex-partner.

"He'd driven to do it. He'd prepared what he needed to kill Isaiah and [Isaiah's mother] and then didn't do it... Isaiah would have been maybe seven or eight," Brooks told the outlet.

"I knew he had it in him. I just thought, hopefully, any person would be able to pull themselves back."

Isaiah has contacted Clarke's family with a heartbreaking letter following the murders, revealing he was also subjected to abuse by Baxter as a child.

"We shared a similar bond, as we both suffered years of domestic abuse and torment at the hands of Rowan," Isaiah wrote.

"His appalling parenting caused irreversible damage to my mental health. If I could take the place of Laianah, Aaliyah, and Trey I would in a heartbeat." 

It's believed Baxter had been abusive to his wife throughout their 11-year relationship, the two separating in 2019 after marrying in 2012. He lost custody of his young children earlier this month after breaching a domestic violence order.

This week, relative Alana Hampson spoke exclusively to Newshub about Baxter's turbulent childhood and addiction to pornography.

"He was very controlling and manipulative," she said. 

"I think that Rowan should have been going through counselling as a kid. The kids got into porn, always looking at porn, his mum accepted it, he treated his mum like crap.

"He was a monster, even when he was a kid, I think he was a monster." 

Another cousin on Baxter's mother's side, Sandra Taylor, told Daily Mail Australia that the 42-year-old had a "dangerous sense of possession and entitlement over his wife and children".

"This was a man with a level of hatred and disrespect for their mother so great that he would make this choice - the most horrifying and despicable of choices."

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