Rowan Baxter: Wife and three young children burned alive by killer father laid to rest in single coffin
The funeral service was attended by hundreds of mourners, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
An Australian woman and her three young children, who were killed when their estranged father set fire to their car while they were still inside, were buried together on March 9.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported that Rowan Charles Baxter, 42, formerly a player for the New Zealand Warriors in the National Rugby League, killed his three children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3, when he doused his wife Hannah's white Kia Sportage with petrol and set it on fire late last month.
Hannah, 31, had managed to get out of the flames but had suffered 97 percent burns. She succumbed to her horrific burns at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital a few hours later. Baxter, who had watched his family burn alive, managed to return to the car, salvaged a knife, and fatally stabbed himself.
The murders, which occurred in Camp Hill, Queensland, a suburb of Brisbane, had sent shockwaves throughout the country because of its graphic nature and sparked a national debate about domestic violence.
Hannah, Alliyah, Laianah, and Trey were buried following a funeral service on Monday, March 9, at a packed Brisbane church where the likes of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk were in attendance, according to ABC.
The ceremony was opened by family friend Fiona Cunningham opened the ceremony, who said they are "navigating the grief of losing this family under horrific circumstances" and that this was the time to "celebrate Hannah and her children's lives and honor their memory."
"This is an occasion for sorrow, but may the occasion not be wasted trying to make sense of why we are here, but rather may it be one where we are thankful for the gift of life and that our lives intersected theirs," she added.
Her younger brother Nat gave a moving tribute and said described his "amazing sister" as "one of the greatest mums to walk this Earth."
"With brown hair and brown eyes, after you were born, Dad heard Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison on the radio on the way home and forever this would be his song for you," he shared. "We were always there for each other. We had the type of bond that parents want for their kids.
Hannah's uncle, Ian Adrian, said they had gathered "on the back of an act of unspeakable evil" but that "it is only when we embrace this darkness that we can see the brightness of the stars shine through and that is what Hannah, Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey are — lights shining through of their generation."
The service also saw a small group of children place colorful butterfly stickers on the white coffins, and mourners encouraged to make a donation to the Clarke family's movement, Small Steps for Hannah.