Rugby star Rowan Baxter ‘burnt wife and kids to death to stop family escaping’

The relatives of a woman allegedly burnt to death along with her three kids by her husband have branded him a "monster" that she was desperately trying to escape.

Rugby league player Rowan Baxter, 42, was found dead next to a burning vehicle near his home in Brisbane, Australia at around 8.30am on Wednesday morning.

He had died from stab wounds, which reports claim were self-inflicted.

At the scene were the bodies of his wife, Hannah Baxter, 31, as well as three-year-old Trey, Laianah, four, and six-year-old Aaliyah.

Hannah's sister-in-law Stacey Roberts has branded Baxter a "monster" and claimed that when she was killed, she was desperately trying to escape her husband.

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He also allegedly yelled at bystanders to stop helping before stabbing himself to death.

Emergency crews called to the scene in the Camp Hill area of the city tried to revive Baxter but declared him dead at the scene.

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Stacey Roberts has said up a fundraising page to cover her sister-in-law's funeral costs.

On it, she wrote: "As you may be aware my beautiful sister-in-law and my nieces and nephew had their lives taken by a disgusting human being they called their father.

"For all those who knew Hannah or had even just met her once would know how much of a beautiful soul she was, her children were her life.

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"All she ever wanted was happiness. Her children were only a reflection of her.

"Gorgeous, happy kids who held a massive piece in my heart and I'm sure many others because that's exactly what they were like.

"We will miss them all more than anything."

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Baxter allegedly bought a can of fuel from a petrol station which he used to set fire to the car.

Another resident dragged Hannah out of the car as she screamed: "He's poured petrol on me," but she died in hospital hours later.

The witness told The Australian Hannah was "rolling on the footpath in flames".

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Another described to The Courier-Mail seeing skin "peeling off her".

Neighbour Aaron Snell told the paper Baxter jumped into the flaming car to grab a knife while bystanders tried to help.

"He was protesting to stop us putting it out. He was so angry and just going absolutely crazy," he said.

"It appeared like he wanted it to burn."

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Baxter, a former New Zealand Warriors player, was reportedly in a custody battle with his estranged wife.

One of his recent haunting Facebook posts showed him with one of his children, along with the caption: "Goodnight my babies. Daddy loves you."

Hannah and her children had reportedly been staying with her parents in Camp Hill after leaving her husband late last year.

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Family friend Brian Cavanagh described the incident as "beyond comprehension".

He said: "I couldn't figure out how come Hannah was in the car with him."

A police spokesman said it was too early to comment on how the fire started.

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"How the fire actually occurred has not been ascertained at the moment, so for us to call it a murder-suicide or a tragic accident, it's inappropriate at this stage.

"I've seen some horrific scenes — this is up there with some of the best of them," he said.

"It's a terrible thing to be presented with."

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