The top Queensland agent reveals how the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children shook her to the core
The brutal murder of a young mother and her three children was so poignant that Queensland’s first female police officer was forced to sit alone in her office, she admitted.
Commissioner Katarina Carroll was at the helm for seven months when the horrific death of Hannah Clarke and her children in Brisbane shocked the nation.
The violent tragedy brought the state’s top agent to its core, she revealed in an interview to make her freshman year in the coveted role.
Former NRL player Rowan Baxter doused his estranged wife and their three children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3, in gasoline and set their car on fire in the leafy suburb of Camp Hill in February.
Commissioner Carroll vividly remembers the moment she received the first text message about the incident, which she described as “the worst of the worst.”
Hannah Clarke (photo right, with her grandmother, left) and children Trey, Laianah and Aaliyah were doused in gasoline and set on fire by her estranged husband in February
“I got the first message from my phone while I was meeting,” she said Courier post.
“And I walked out and sat in my office across the river and thought to myself,” really, really? Could this really happen? Oh my god, could this really be happening in our community? “
As Wednesday marked her first birthday on the top track, she explained that the tragedy was “by far the most difficult case” she faced in her career.
She described her encounters with Mrs. Clarke’s family and the first police officers on the horrifying scene over the next few days as the most difficult, heartbreaking and heartbreaking of the past 12 months.
Commissioner Carroll has vowed to revise the system in hopes of ending the scourge of domestic violence so that similar tragedies never happen again.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll (right) was in her role for seven months at the time. She is depicted at Hannah Clarke’s funeral next to Hannah’s parents Lloyd and Suzanne
The Commissioner will never learn about the horrific deaths of Hannah Clarke and her three children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3 (photo)
She added that society must learn from the deaths of Hannah Clarke, Alison Baden-Clay and other women who have been victims of domestic violence.
“It’s tragic,” she added, saying that domestic violence deaths should not occur in a “contemporary and modern society.”
Other defining events for Commissioner Carroll include the recent Black Lives Matter protests and the surveillance of the state’s pandemic blockade.
The restrictions will be relaxed on Friday when Queensland opens its borders to New South Wales for the first time in three months.
Commissioner Carroll admitted that the recent death of US citizen George Floyd by police, which led to the global movement, was avoidable.
She also understands why thousands of Australians have taken to the streets since then to express their anger.
Rowan Baxter (pictured, left) doused his estranged wife and their three children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3, in gasoline and set their car on fire in a tragedy that shocked the nation
Commissioner Katarina Carroll described the February tragedy as ‘the worst of the worst’ (pictured is the towed car)
She hopes to celebrate her first birthday as a Commissioner on Wednesday evening with a glass of wine after work.
Commissioner Carroll joined the Queensland Police Department in 1983 after studying criminal law at Griffith University.
Women were only four cents from the police at the time.
But it didn’t stop Commissioner Carroll from reaching ranks in the ranks as a detective in high-profile units such as the drug squad, the criminal police and the organized crime task force.
She was leading Queensland security efforts at the 2014 Brisbane and G20 Summits her four-year stint commissioner for firefighters and emergency responders began the following year before taking over the helm from police commissioner Ian Stewart last July.
She is the 20th Queensland Police Commissioner and the first woman in the highest job in the service’s 159-year history.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll (pictured) looks back on her first year on the job