Calls for landmark police trial in Australia
After two murders that shocked Australia, a coroner has recommended the trial of a specialist domestic violence police station.
The ex-partners of Hannah Clarke, her children, and Doreen Langham burned them to death in Queensland.
In a ruling this week, Magistrate Jane Bentley concluded that authorities missed or ignored warning signs that both women would be killed.
As part of her recommendations to improve responses to domestic violence, she recommended the trial.
According to Magistrate Bentley, the new model police station should have specialist police officers, support workers, a child safety officer, and a lawyer who can provide legal advice to victims and police.
According to expert evidence presented at one of the inquests, police stations like these have reduced female homicides in countries like Brazil and India.
Government funding for men’s behavior change programs was also recommended.
In February 2020, Rowan Baxter ambushed Hannah Clarke and her children in Brisbane, dousing them in petrol and setting their car ablaze before taking his own life.
Aaliyah, age six, Laianah, age four, and Trey, age three, were killed in the automobile accident.
Hours later, Ms Clarke, who had suffered severe burns all over her body but the soles of her feet, died in hospital.
He had repeatedly sought assistance from the police over domestic violence, securing court orders in the months before the murders.
After the relationship ended, Baxter became increasingly abusive and controlling – dictating what she wore and monitoring where she went.