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High honour for Hannah's last heroic act

High honour for Hannah's last heroic act

Queensland mum Hannah Clarke has been posthumously honoured as one of Australia’s Women of the Year after she was was murdered along with her three young children by her estranged partner.

Hannah was dropping her kids off to school when her estranged partner Rowan Baxter, 42, jumped into the passenger seat of her car and doused the family in petrol in a suburban Brisbane street on February 19.

He set them all alight before telling people in the street not to help. He then took his own life.

The three children died in the car while Hannah jumped out screaming: “He’s poured petrol on me.”

She died later in the hospital but was able to give police a detailed statement beforehand outlining the horrific incident and years of abuse.

Now, the 31-year-old has been recognised in the annual Marie Claire Women of the Year list for her bravery in bringing attention to a lesser known form of abuse - coercive control.

“Though she had burns to 97 per cent of her body, Hannah still managed to give police a clear and articulate statement,” Hannah’s mother, Sue Clarke, told Marie Claire. “She pushed herself to repeat it; the police were in awe. It was truly to make him pay – she was going to fight for her babies to the end.”

Before Hannah was killed, she was living with her parents to escape Baxter’s controlling behaviour.

Nicky Briger, Marie Claire editor, said Hannah displayed “incredible bravery and resilience during those last horrific hours of her life to ensure her story was told” and it was important her efforts were recognised.

“Because of Hannah, coercive control was given nationwide attention, and now her parents – Sue and Lloyd – are carrying on her legacy by fighting to make coercive control a crime in Australia,” she said.