Rugby player ‘punished wife for refusing sex’ before killing entire family

Rugby player Rowan Baxter punished his wife if she refused before killing her and their three children in a horrific car fire, her pal has claimed.

Evil beast Baxter killed his wife Hannah and their kids Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3, after pouring petrol on the family car in a suburb of Brisbane, Australia.

The ex-rugby player then fatally stabbed himself as bystanders tried to save his children who were still strapped into their car seats in the inferno.

Hannah’s friends and family have now explained the horrific campaign of abuse she suffered at the hands of the monstrous control freak.

The 42-year-old fitness coach has been revealed as a prolific abuser who had repeatedly subjected his wife to violence.

She had managed to escape him last year as the couple separated, but Baxter continued to stalk her before he eventually committed the murders which have shocked a nation.

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Hannah’s pal Manja Whaley penned a letter on Facebook “to the most courageous woman I know” as she revealed the horrific campaign of abuse committed by Baxter.

Manja and Hannah had quickly become good friends after meeting at the family’s Integr8 Fitness gym in September 2019.

And in a TV interview she explained how Baxter would demand sex and then punish before Hannah and the children if he didn’t get what he wanted.

She wrote: “You gave me so much comfort as a mother of three who knew what this was like.

“That’s who you were — warm, caring and someone that anyone would feel instantly comfortable with to show their vulnerable side.”

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Manja, a domestic violence worker for 10 years, was confided in by Hannah about her husband’s controlling and abusive nature.

She had left Baxter on December 5 and just before Christmas the couple moved to shut down Intergr8.

In her letter, Manja said: “You confided in me about the family violence you had experienced for the past 10 years.”

She went on: “We talked about the different types of violence including financial abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and you experienced all of them.”

Baxter had also previously threatened a woman in a previous relationship, saying he would take his own life and kill their child if she ever left, Manja claimed.

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Manja also slated any suggestion that Baxter had been wronged in the relationship, which comes after a cop was condemned for suggesting the abuser may have been “driven” to the murders.

She said: “This is the act of a man who believed he owned his children and wife, that they were objects to be controlled.

“This is not love, this is coercive control — the act of threats, intimidation, assault and humiliation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish or frighten their victim. In this case to frighten his own children and wife.

“He is NOT the victim.”

And she later appeared on during a TV interview regarding the abuse, saying the truth must be told about what happened to Hannah.

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Speaking on Today, she said: “There was the checking of her accounts on Facebook, the accusations of her cheating.

“She would get dressed and she would be picking up her clothes and he would say things to her like, ‘Look at your stomach, that’s just disgusting’.

“And some of the things that she would explain was this excessive control, the sexual abuse daily, and if she wasn’t to have sex with him, he would punish not only her but also the children.

“She wouldn’t be allowed to go to the gym which was not only her passion but her outlet.

“The children wouldn’t be allowed to go to the beach on a Sunday and that’s something they did every Sunday as a family.”

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Baxter would also attempt to control his wife by dictating what she wore.

Manja said: “She would always come to the gym in tights, and he didn't like her wearing shorts because she would be promiscuous.”

She added: “"My hope is that people are more aware of domestic violence… just because you haven't been beaten doesn't mean that there is no domestic violence.

"I hope that women in this situation at home, hearing this or reading anything and go, 'Actually, this is what's happening to me,' and they reach out. Because it is dangerous.

"Hopefully the public can be aware of the domestic violence signs and when a woman talks about their relationship, help that person and say, ‘this is not okay … there is help out there' and seek help with that person."

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Twisted monster Baxter killed his family by dousing their car in petrol and setting them alight on Wednesday.

Hannah and children were doing the school run when he ambushed them.

She jumped from the wreckage and survived the initial incident, but later died in hospital of her severe burns.

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Hannah's parents Lloyd and Suzanne Clarke explained that Baxter had entered a “downward spiral” and had become “monstrous”.

The couple were speared and the midst of a custody battle when Baxter committed the atrocity.

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