Baxter, according to Ms. Bentley, was not mentally ill but rather a “master of manipulation.”
She went on to say, “I believe it improbable that any additional measures taken by police officers, service providers, friends or family members could have prevented Baxter from finally carrying out his deadly objectives.”
Ms Bentley said police training required ‘immediate attention’ to prevent similar deaths occurring.
She also advocated for a yearlong trial of a multidisciplinary, specialized domestic violence police station.
A detective, a support worker, a lawyer to counsel the police and the victims, and officials from the housing, health, and child safety agencies should all be stationed there.
On February 19, 2020, Ms. Clarke’s estranged husband Baxter stepped into her car as she was driving Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3, to school from her parents’ house in Brisbane’s Camp Hill neighborhood.
Before setting the automobile on fire, the 42-year-old stabbed himself with a knife and died nearby.
While Ms. Clarke, 31, passed away the same day in the hospital, the remains of the children were discovered inside the car.
CCTV evidence showing Baxter making purchases of zip ties, cleaning solution, and a gasoline can days before the deaths was revealed before the inquest.
When he bought petrol, he also bought three Kinder Surprise chocolates, perhaps for his kids.
Baxter may have first meant to abduct Ms. Clarke, burn her, then give his children chocolates so that “all the families would be delighted,” according to counsel for the coroner Jacoba Brasch QC.
She said that after the 31-year-old disobeyed him by turning to “plan B” after Baxter ambushed her, he did so.
Sue and Lloyd Clarke, the parents of Ms. Clarke, expressed their hope that others will benefit from the inquiry after the “unthinkably confronting” hearing.
There are recurring issues with police training and communication, the Coroners Court was informed.
But according to Mr. Clarke, Baxter could not have been stopped.
‘He was just one of those people … so callous and used everyone as a pawn in his monstrous ways,’ he said outside court after the hearing.
Sue Clarke added: ‘Every now and then I think a true monster is born and you can’t stop them’.
Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said earlier on Wednesday she hoped the legacy of the inquest will be ‘a much stronger system’.
‘It is incredibly distressing … when we hear about these horrific murders and we have to do more to prevent (them from) happening,’ she told 4BC radio on Wednesday.
‘I often say we have to start responding to the red flags before more blue police tape surrounds the family home.’