A “suicide/goodbye” note by Rowan Baxter found after he killed estranged wife Hannah Clarke and their three children provides an insight into his narcissistic personality, an inquest has heard.
Detective Sergeant Derek Harris says his review of almost 300 statements also paints Baxter as a man who took no responsibility for his actions.
The 2020 deaths of Ms Clarke, her children – Aaliyah, six, Laianah, four, and Trey, three – and Baxter are the subject of the inquest that resumes in Brisbane on Monday.
Det Sgt Harris reviewed the 1300-plus word note on Baxter’s phone as part of his investigation into the lead-up to the tragedy.
“When you read it, it is like someone who is not with it,” he told the inquest on Friday.
The letter was released as a court exhibit this week.
An excerpt said: “Do you know how hard it is to go to bed every night without your children? I wish you had have just tried.
“You destroyed my life and I cannot move on. I hope all this was worth it for you and your family.”
Det Sgt Harris said reviewing 270 statements also did not paint Baxter in a kind light.
Baxter played the victim after their late 2019 marriage separation.
“I believe with his personality, his inability to look …(at) the effects of his own actions he needed to maintain the appearance that it wasn’t his fault,” Det Sgt Harris said.
“Which is why he would tell his friends about a perceived infidelity. It was a way of garnering support.
“He just created an echo chamber into what he wanted to hear and it got to the point where he believed it himself, looking to blame everyone but himself.”
Baxter also developed a “win at all costs” attitude in his relationship with Ms Clarke.
“I read one statement where Hannah would beat him in some (fitness) program at the gym and apparently he would stay back or go early the next morning so he could be fitter with the aim of purely beating her,” he said.
“I just don’t get that. It’s not a normal healthy relationship in my opinion.”
A glimpse into his mindset was also provided by police body-worn camera footage of an officer stopping Baxter and Ms Clarke in September 2019 for unregistered driving.
It was made public by the coroner on Friday.
Baxter can be heard belittling and blaming his then wife for forgetting to renew the registration.
When Ms Clarke tries to explain, Baxter says: “Don’t talk to me about it, cause it’s your car”.
Just months later on February 19, 2020, Ms Clarke was leaving her parents’ home in Camp Hill to take her children to school when Baxter got into the car, poured fuel inside and set it alight.
Baxter, 42, then stabbed himself with a knife, dying nearby.
Ms Clarke, 31, died later the same day in hospital.