Speaking to A Current Affairon Tuesday night, Nikki Brooks said she spoke to police just a week before Ms Clarke and her three children, Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey, were killed by Baxter on a suburban street in Brisbane’s Camp Hill.
Ms Brooks said she had gone to police to make an affidavit, confirming Baxter had breached a domestic violence order (DVO).
“I sat down a week before with a police officer making my affidavit. I looked her in the eye and I said, ‘I think he’s going to take them all out.’ And she said, ‘I’ve got a bad feeling too,’” she said.
Sitting next to Ms Clarke’s devastated sister-in-law, Stacey, and fellow close friend, Lou Farmer, Ms Brooks said she felt “a lot of guilt” after encouraging Hannah to leave Baxter.
“I know that her closest friends feel exactly the same way. And I feel like we definitely influenced her decision. We said, ‘Han, enough is enough,’” Ms Brooks said.
“It was getting bad and we had to get her out of there.”
After years of abuse, Ms Clarke had separated from Baxter in November and the two had been working on custody arrangements.
But Ms Brooks said when Ms Clarke hid at her house following the separation, she seemed “happy” and “relieved”.
“She stayed with me and we felt safe. He didn’t know where I lived. She just looked relieved and she just seemed really happy. She knew she made the right decision,” she said.
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Stacey Clarke struggled to speak during the interview, still coming to terms with the family tragedy.
Ms Farmer, who knew Ms Clarke for four years before she died, said she too was struggling to tell her children.
“My 10 and seven-year-old, they understand. I can’t even go there with Heidi. Heidi and Laianah were best friends,” she said.
“I just don’t know how to tell my little girl that Laianah, her best friend is gone.”
BRISBANE MAYOR TO HELP CHARITY
The Clarke family now want to start a charity in Hannah’s name to honour her legacy and help raise awareness of domestic violence.
But as charities can take several months to set up, the family has asked the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust to help collect funds in the meantime.
— A Current Affair (@ACurrentAffair9) February 25, 2020
“At the request of Hannah’s parents, the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust is assisting the family to establish a charity called ‘Small Steps 4 Hannah’ which honours Hannah’s legacy and addresses domestic violence,” a statement on the trust’s website said.
“The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust is collecting funds to establish the charity and its important work.”
“I think it’s beautiful and I love that they have the feet,” Ms Farmer told A Current Affair of the charity plans.
“That’s all they had and I’m glad they got it. That’s all she had left, there was nothing.”
Ms Brooks said she believed Ms Clarke would be grateful for the support.
“She’d be so relieved because she’s got a nation supporting her now. She struggled because people didn’t believe her,” she said.
‘HE HAD A PLAN’
Clarke’s brother Nathaniel also spoke to the ABC’s 7.30 program on Tuesday, saying his sister had received “amazing support from the police”.
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What “cut” him the deepest, he said, was that Baxter had made his wife and kids suffer before their deaths.
“It wasn’t quick. It was planned and executed,” he said.
“He had a plan that night when he called the kids and he was a blubbering mess. He knew what he was doing then. He had it all planned out, he knew what he was doing the following morning.
“He couldn’t even do it quick. That’s the worst thing. He made them suffer, and her.”