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Hannah Clarke’s husband Rowan Baxter used a recording device to monitor her conversations, an inquest into the late mother-of-three’s horrific death has heard. 

An inquest into the deaths of Hannah Clarke, 31, and her children Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four and Trey, three, at the hands of Baxter is being held at Brisbane Coroners Court this week. 

Day three of the inquest saw witnesses give evidence and further information on Baxter’s mindset in the lead-up to the tragic murder-suicide.

Eoin Coffey, a lawyer who was close friends with Baxter, provided a statement to the inquest revealing the killer left an iPad in Ms Clarke’s home so that he could overhear her conversations. 

A witness at an inquest into the deaths of Hannah Clarke (pictured) and her three children has revealed that her husband Rowan Baxter used a recording device to monitor her conservations. Pictured: Hannah with her son Trey

A witness at an inquest into the deaths of Hannah Clarke (pictured) and her three children has revealed that her husband Rowan Baxter used a recording device to monitor her conservations. Pictured: Hannah with her son Trey

A witness at an inquest into the deaths of Hannah Clarke (pictured) and her three children has revealed that her husband Rowan Baxter used a recording device to monitor her conservations. Pictured: Hannah with her son Trey

Mr Coffey said in his statement that he learned of this unsettling behaviour during a conversation he had with him. 

In one conversation Hannah had with her mother Sue, Baxter heard his former wife label him as a ‘narcissist’ and other derogatory names. 

Mr Coffey explained in his statement that he strongly advised Baxter at the time to respect the temporary protection order that was in place against him.

He said he told Baxter that breaching the order would ‘not look good in the family court’.  

Counsel assisting the coroner Dr Jacoba Brasch QC said on Wednesday that witness testimony about Baxter ‘speak to a man who was manipulative, confrontational and who was consumed with himself.’ 

Meanwhile, the inquest heard from witnesses that Hannah Clarke asked how to write a will, convinced her estranged husband would try to kill her just weeks before he set her car alight with their children inside. 

Baxter was a short-tempered hothead, who was paranoid and controlling and treated his wife and children as possessions, the inquest heard on Wednesday.

Lewis Bartlett, who knew Baxter from about 2008 and employed Ms Clarke at his sports shoe store, told the inquest she confided about intending to leave her husband late in 2019.

‘I was shocked at the time because on the surface they looked like a happy couple,’ Mr Bartlett said.

Ms Clarke later told him she and Baxter had what was ‘classed as a domestic violence relationship’.

In one recorded conversation Hannah had with her mother Sue, Baxter heard his former wife label him as a 'narcissist' and other derogatory names. Pictured: Sue Clarke on Monday at the inquest

In one recorded conversation Hannah had with her mother Sue, Baxter heard his former wife label him as a 'narcissist' and other derogatory names. Pictured: Sue Clarke on Monday at the inquest

In one recorded conversation Hannah had with her mother Sue, Baxter heard his former wife label him as a ‘narcissist’ and other derogatory names. Pictured: Sue Clarke on Monday at the inquest

The inquest heard Hannah Clarke (pictured with two of her children, Aaliyah and Laianah), inquired about writing a will, convinced her estranged husband would try to kill her just weeks before he set her car alight with their children inside

The inquest heard Hannah Clarke (pictured with two of her children, Aaliyah and Laianah), inquired about writing a will, convinced her estranged husband would try to kill her just weeks before he set her car alight with their children inside

The inquest heard Hannah Clarke (pictured with two of her children, Aaliyah and Laianah), inquired about writing a will, convinced her estranged husband would try to kill her just weeks before he set her car alight with their children inside

She said he had not hit her, but ‘had done other things’ that she did not elaborate on.

Mr Bartlett said Ms Clarke told him that she could not do anything without Baxter’s permission, and her husband wouldn’t let her wear shorts to work even though it was allowed at the store.

In the weeks before Hannah and her three children were killed, Ms Clarke asked Mr Bartlett how to write a will.

‘She said if anything ever happened to her she wanted to make sure her children were well looked after and went to the right people,’ Mr Bartlett told the inquest.

When he replied that nothing would happen to her, Ms Clarke said: ‘No, he’s going to try and kill me.’

‘She was convinced something was going to happen,’ Mr Bartlett said.

Ms Clarke said she had told the police her concerns and he thought things would be put in place to protect her.

Hannah Clarke's only concerns were for her kids Aaliyah , six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three

Hannah Clarke's only concerns were for her kids Aaliyah , six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three

Hannah Clarke’s only concerns were for her kids Aaliyah , six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three 

Hannah Baxter, 31, and her children Aaliyah, 6, Lainah, 4, and Trey, 3, died after they were doused in petrol and set alight in Brisbane in February 2020. Pictured is the burnt out car

Hannah Baxter, 31, and her children Aaliyah, 6, Lainah, 4, and Trey, 3, died after they were doused in petrol and set alight in Brisbane in February 2020. Pictured is the burnt out car

Hannah Baxter, 31, and her children Aaliyah, 6, Lainah, 4, and Trey, 3, died after they were doused in petrol and set alight in Brisbane in February 2020. Pictured is the burnt out car

Mr Bartlett said Ms Clarke had fears about what Baxter would do to her, but didn’t think he would harm the children.

‘But she did say that he would use the kids against her as almost like a bargaining chip,’ he said.

Ms Clarke also told Mr Bartlett that Baxter grabbed her arm, assaulting her, when he dropped off the children after their separation on January 31.

‘She said … she went to get the kids out the car and saw these photos of herself in her underwear on the back seat,’ Mr Bartlett said.

Ms Clarke went to grab the photos so Baxter wouldn’t have them and he grabbed her arm, holding her up against the car.

Ms Clarke also told friends she thought Baxter was stalking her and had bugged her phone or was somehow listening to her conversations.

Baxter, 42, was also injured in the car fire, but died nearby after stabbing himself.

Ms Clarke died later the same day in hospital.

The inquest continues.

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Source: DailyMail

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