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Footy star 'sets car on fire killing himself and his three children'

Footy star 'sets car on fire killing himself and his three children'

How cowardly rampage unfolded: Evil father stabbed himself to death in the street as his three children burned alive inside petrol-doused car and neighbours fought to save his wife's life with a garden hose

  • Rowan Baxter, 42, is suspected of killing his three children in car inferno 
  • Witnesses say Baxter protested when people tried to put out the flames
  • 'It appeared like he wanted it to burn,' one neighbour who was there said
  • Baxter's wife, Hannah, 31, died in hospital of her horrendous burns 
  • 'He's poured petrol on me', witnesses claimed she shrieked from driver's seat  
  • Hannah managed to escape the car and was hosed down by a Good Samaritan 
  • The couple separated recently and shut down their fitness coaching business 
  • Hannah's parents live on the same Brisbane street where the blaze occurred

 

A father who torched his estranged wife's car with their three children inside escaped the inferno and stabbed himself to death as he watched his kids die. 

Rowan Charles Baxter's three children, Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three, all died when the family's white SUV was set alight at Camp Hill, in Brisbane's south east, at about 8.20am on Wednesday. 

Hannah Baxter, the children's mother, 31, died late on Tuesday night from horrific burns. She had leaped out of the Kia Sportage in flames and was extinguished by neighbours before being rushed to hospital.

Baxter, a 42-year-old former NRL player, jumped in the car as Ms Baxter strapped the children in to do the school drop off while parked down the road from her parents' home. 

 

Aaron Snell, a neighbour who witnessed the horror said he initially thought he was watching a road rage attack before he realised the gravity of the situation.

By the time he reacted, Ms Baxter had escaped from the car and was rolling on the footpath in an attempt to smother the flames. A Good Samaritan was also trying to hose her down to stop the fire.

Witnesses said they heard her shouting 'he's poured petrol on me' at the time.

Baxter was also still alive. 

 

Footy star ’sets car on fire killing himself and his three children’

Inferno family: Hannah and Rowan Baxter, with their three children (from left to right) Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey, 3

 

Footy star ’sets car on fire killing himself and his three children’

Baxter flooded his Facebook site with photos and videos of his children, describing them as 'my world' - but is now suspected of killing them in a murder-suicide

 

Footy star ’sets car on fire killing himself and his three children’

Pictured: Rowan and Hannah Baxter. Hannah died in hospital suffering serious burns after Rowan torched the car she was in with their children

 

Footy star ’sets car on fire killing himself and his three children’

The Baxters separated last year and the business they ran - Integr8 Fitness - reportedly closed its doors at the end of 2019

 

Footy star ’sets car on fire killing himself and his three children’

The blaze occurred in Camp Hill, described as an upmarket, family-oriented suburb in Brisbane's east

 

 

BRISBANE CAR INFERNO: HOW THE TRAGEDY UNFOLDED

JANUARY, 2020

Queensland Police officers are called to a family violence incident that allegedly involved the couple.

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 19 - EARLY MORNING:

Ex-NRL star Rowan Charles Baxter, 42, is spotted filling a jerry can with fuel at a local service station. 

8AM:   

Baxter dives into his estranged wife Hannah Baxter's white Kia Sportage as she was preparing to do the school drop off on Raven Street, Camp Hill, a wealthy suburb of Brisbane.

He douses Ms Baxter, 31, and their three children - Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three - in petrol and sets the car alight. 

Neighbours hear an explosion which sounded like a 'gas bottle' blast. At least four explosions followed. 

THE AFTERMATH: 

Baxter grabs a knife from the SUV and stabs himself in the chest.

He tries to stop neighbours from saving his wife and children before dying in the street.

Ms Baxter escapes the burning car and screams: 'He's poured petrol on me.' 

Horrified witnesses see her skin peeling off her body.

One heroic neighbour hoses her down in an attempt to save her life and suffers burns himself. 

She is rushed to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital in a critical condition.   

EVENING:

Ms Baxter dies in hospital from the horrendous burns she suffered in the quadruple murder suicide.

WHO WAS ROWAN BAXTER? 

Rowan Baxter was an ex-NRL player once contracted to the New Zealand Warriors. 

He was a member of the President's Selection 2005 pre-season team and worked in the sports and fitness industry for the last 20 years of his life.

He was raised in Tauranga, on New Zealand's North Island, before moving to Australia. 

Baxter lived in Brisbane alongside his wife, Hannah, and three children until as recently as late last year, when the couple reportedly separated. 

The 42-year-old opened a gym, Intergr8 and CrossFit SMC in Capalaba, alongside his wife, but the pair closed it down as they worked through their split. 

Ex Broncos athletes Sam Thaiday and Matt Gillett have been known to train in the gym. 

The ex-sportsman's business website described him as an accomplished body weight trainer for NRL and AFL teams. 

He was known to friends and family as a loving and dedicated father. 

 

He was across the road, but returned to the car to salvage a knife. He then stabbed himself in the chest, Mr Snell said. 

Mr Snell, who is trained in CPR, said he was trying to assess whether he could perform it on Baxter because he was 'just in all matter of states,' he told The Courier Mail.

'As I came to the front after calling Triple-0, I saw her (Hannah). She was smoking, her body was smoking and on fire,' Mr Snell said.  

By this point, others were on the scene and trying to put out the fire in an attempt to save the children, who were still trapped inside.

Mr Snell believes Baxter attempted to stop them helping his children in his final moments.

'He was so angry and just going absolutely crazy. It appeared like he wanted [the car] to burn,' he said. 

 

Footy star ’sets car on fire killing himself and his three children’

 Queensland Police officers were called to a family violence incident allegedly involving the couple just last month

 

Footy star ’sets car on fire killing himself and his three children’

Baxter described himself as an accomplished body weight trainer, while his wife said she 'was an enthusiastic, passionate mother of three'

 

Footy star ’sets car on fire killing himself and his three children’

Burned-out wreck: Rowan Charles Baxter, 42, and his three children, Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three, all died when the family's white SUV was set alight at Camp Hill

 

CONFRONTING FOOTAGE SHOWS ROWAN BAXTER PRETENDING TO BREAK HIS SON'S NECK

Confronting footage has since surfaced of the father roughing his children up during a play fight in happier times. 

In the vision, which Baxter uploaded to his Facebook account about a month ago, the three children giggled as he took turns grabbing them by the neck and pushing them away from him.

Trey, who was still in diapers at the time, eventually grew tired of the game after having his head slammed into a bed and ran off camera in tears.

Baxter laughed and continued playing with his two older girls.

 

Footy star ’sets car on fire killing himself and his three children’

The video was met with messages of support from his friends, who said he was teaching his children to have a thick skin. 

'That is the coolest bro. Kids love being roughed up then they don’t cry over every little thing. Awesome what you are doing,' one said.

That same friend has since described Baxter's reported actions as 'inexcusable'. 

'What he has done is the saddest thing ever and inexcusable... I have nothing but good memories of the man and no one could have foreseen this happening. RIP to the little ones,' he wrote underneath his original comment.

Baxter indicated the footage was taken just before bed time.

'Sweet dreams my babies... love you to the moon and back,' he wrote.

 

 

Baxter, an ex-New Zealand Warriors player, stabbed himself with a knife during the horrific attack on his family.  

The couple had recently separated and shut down the business they ran together, Integr8 Fitness, based at Capalaba.

The car blaze occurred just metres from Hannah's parents' house. 

In recent months, Baxter flooded his Facebook site with photos and videos of his children, describing them as 'my world'. 

'T-R-E-Y, love you to the moon and back,' he posted six days ago.

'Goodnight my babies, Daddy loves you,' he posted a month ago.


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