A senior Queensland detective has been stripped of the words he used to request information about the death of a woman and her three children in Brisbane.
Detective inspector Mark Thompson said the police should be open about whether the death of Hannah Clarke and her children was the case of a “man driven too far by problems” or a woman and children suffering extreme domestic violence.
The comments were condemned as victims of domestic violence campaigners, including Betty Taylor of the Red Rose Foundation and Angela Lynch, head of the Women’s Legal Service Queensland.
Renee Eaves, a victim advocate, told it The Guardian that suggesting that victims might be partly responsible was “the most dangerous.”
“If the police now imply that a murdered woman is guilty, it raises critical questions about whether they have taken the threat to her security seriously enough,” she said.
Mrs. Clarke, 31, and her children, Laianah, 4, Aaliyah, 6, and Trey, 3, were killed when Rowan Baxter reportedly poured gas on his family and lit them on Wednesday at Camp Hill in Brisbane.
Baxter died on the sidewalk by self-inflicted wounds, police say.
“Our job as researchers is to keep a completely open mind,” Det Insp Thompson told the media in a 13-minute press conference on Thursday.
He saw the outburst of anger and sadness on social media after death and encouraged everyone to come forward with information about family dynamics.
Hannah Clarke (photo) along with her 3 children, Laianah, 4, Aaliyah, 6 and Trey, 3 (above) were killed by their husband and father Rowan Baxter before he killed himself on Wednesday
Detective inspector Mark Thompson was slammed shut after he told the police to keep open whether the death of Hannah Clarke and her children was the case of a “man who is driven too far by problems” or a woman and children who have extreme domestic violence
“We need to look at every piece of information and, in short, there are probably people in the community who decide which way they are taking this research,” he said.
“Is this a question of a woman suffering significant domestic violence and her and her children being destroyed by the husband?” Or is this an example of a man who is driven too far by problems he has suffered from certain circumstances to commit acts of this form? “
Police commissioner Katarina Carroll apologized on Friday for what was said.
She added that the wording was wrong and Det Insp Thompson was displeased with the comments.
“He is desperate and has been stripped about the way he said it and what was said,” said Commissioner Carroll at the ABC.
“He’s a man who has protected the Queensland community all his life and worked endless hours, and when he looks back, he can’t believe how he formulated it.”
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll apologized on Friday and said Det Insp Thompson was displeased with the comments
Rowan Baxter (top left) is said to have poured gas on his family and set them on fire in Camp Hill in Brisbane on Wednesday, Baxter died on the sidewalk by self-inflicted wounds, police say
After the press conference, social media users quickly criticized the officer’s comments /
“There is no reason for the brutal murder of three children in a car fire,” tweeted a woman.
‘Nobody is’ driven’ to set their children on fire. All members of QPS who do not condemn this malicious behavior see this as an excuse. There is no “open mind” for murder! “
Another said, “Just when you thought this act of murder was bad enough … Absolute disbelief about the quotes from QPS.”
Detective Thompson’s remarks were condemned as victims of domestic violence campaigns, including Betty Taylor of the Red Rose Foundation and Angela Lynch, head of the Queensland Women’s Legal Service
What to do if you run the risk of domestic violence
There are a number of services throughout Australia that you can contact for assistance.
- The national advice line for sexual abuse, family and domestic violence: 1800 737 732, available 24/7
- Call 000 if you are in immediate danger
- Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
- Lifeline: 13 11 11