Brisbane car fire killings of mother and her three children leave Australia reeling amid calls for action on family violence

A friend of the victims reacts at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a car fire, which claimed the lives of a mother and her three young children as well as their father's who died near by, in Brisbane, Australia. EPA-EFE/DAN PELED

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The deaths of a Brisbane mother and her three children have prompted an outpouring of anger, sadness and disbelief among family members, politicians, domestic violence advocates and the Australian community.

Hannah Baxter, 31, and her children Aaliyah, 6, Lainah, 4, and Trey, 3, died after the family car was set alight on a street in the Brisbane suburb of Camp Hill on Wednesday morning.

Ms Baxter’s estranged husband and the children’s father, Rowan Baxter, allegedly doused his family with petrol.

At least four dead in fatal car fire in Brisbane
A handwritten note sits amongst flowers at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a car fire, which claimed the lives of a mother and her three young children . EPA-EFE/DAN PELED AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

The 42-year-old was found dead on a footpath with self-inflicted wounds.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the incident as “devastating” and encouraged victims of domestic violence to seek support.

At least four dead in fatal car fire in Brisbane
Mourners pay their respects at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a fatal car fire in Brisbane, Australia. EPA-EFE/DAN PELED

Ms Baxter’s family also used social media to pay tribute to the mother-of-three and professional gymnast, and to vent their anger.

Sister-in-law Stacey Roberts, who created a Facebook fundraising campaign to pay for the funerals, said Ms Baxter was “a beautiful soul” and that “her children were her life”.

In the wake of the deaths, Queensland Women’s Legal Service CEO Angela Lynch has called for an overhaul of the Family Court system. “The court systems everywhere continue to be under pressure, and women are seeking assistance more than ever and we should have the systems there, appropriate systems to be able to respond to them.”

At least four dead in fatal car fire in Brisbane
A vehicle is removed from the scene of a car fire which claimed the lives of four people in Brisbane, Australia. EPA-EFE/DAN PELED

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