Rowan Baxter is your classic, stereotypical misogynist. He hated strong women like his mother-in-law, Sue Clarke and sister-in-law, Stacey Clarke, but most of all, he despised his wife, Hannah Clarke, whom he abused for years on a sexual, emotional and psychological level. In a previous article, we discussed Baxter and coercive control. In this one, we will jump back in time and determine how he became the monster in the mirror.
All we’ve written about Rowan Baxter has not been positive. We’ve barely scratched the surface. In the first post, we mentioned that the wife killer admitted to having an anger issue and an issue of control.
Rowan Baxter: Childhood And First Marriage
As revealed in the coroner’s report, Rowan Baxter’s childhood was described as “prejudicial” as his father was found guilty of sexual assault on his daughters, Rowan’s sisters and was gaoled.
Rowan was married before Hannah Clarke and had a son with his first wife. During the marriage, he showed signs of anger issues and was controlling towards her. His ex-wife wanted to leave him when their young son was only a toddler. However, he didn’t want the marriage to end, and he threatened her by leaving notes on her car, which went into detail about how he would “end it” for him, her and their child. Baxter would also claim he “wanted his family” back.
As we detailed in our post on Hannah Clarke and the coercive control she endured from her estranged husband, we mentioned how he would’ve killed his first wife and son. He had a chosen method of a hose pipe. He later threatened suicide using this same technique after he and Hannah argued over her refusal to have sex with him.
Rowan Baxter was closer in age to his first wife than he was to Hannah. He was only two years older than his first wife. Hannah was 11 years younger than him. He moved his wife and son to Australia in 2007.
In 2008, Rowan Baxter met Hannah Clarke at the Kindy Gym
at the PCYC in Carindale, where his son was attending the class. He started working at the same gym as a boxing instructor.
Rowan was still married to his first wife and living with her while he started an affair with Hannah. He told Clarke that he and his wife were separated and resided in the same place for their son. However, this was a lie. Baxter told a friend that he couldn’t afford to move out. Also, his wife was aware of the affair. Upon the separation, the exes put a parenting plan in place for their son.
But if any problem arose, Baxter reverted to his aggression and even threatened to break down his ex’s door so he could see his son.
Relationship And Later Marriage To Hannah Clarke
Six months into his relationship with Hannah, Rowan learned she was pregnant and told her to abort it as she was too young to be a mother. In October 2012, Hannah and Rowan married. Clarke was 14 weeks pregnant with their first daughter, Aaliyah.
Rowan Baxter refused to pay his ex-wife to support their young son during this time.
The Baxters then decided to open a gym, asking Sue and Lloyd, Hannah’s parents, to invest. Someone else also gave them money for the venture. The Clarkes had to pay the bills as Rowan was a terrible businessperson.
Rowan Baxter Was A Terrible Businessperson
Hannah then fell pregnant with their second daughter, Laianah. The Baxters opened a second gym in Mansfield while moving the first one to the exact location.
The cars were registered in Hannah’s name as Baxter had a horrible record of not paying car registration and had debts with the State Penalties Enforcement Register.
Again, the gym moved a second time, this time to Capalaba. However, it had to move a third time due to zoning issues. It closed in December 2019, and Hannah and Baxter owed $75,000.
Where Coercive Control Played A Factor
When Hannah and Rowan started dating, coercive control began seeping into the relationship; when Clarke went on a cruise with a friend, Baxter wasn’t happy with her and constantly rang her.
Upon moving in together, Rowan told Hannah she couldn’t wear shorts, a short skirt or anything pink. He even had ground rules for when she wore a bikini. They were for the beach only, and she had to cover up otherwise. He also told her to shut down her Facebook account and that they had to share one.
Rowan also forced a wedge between Hannah and her family. He did this in several ways. The first Clarke was not allowed to spend Mother’s Day with Sue and had to spend time celebrating Rowan’s deceased mother. The family were also stopped from attending certain family barbecues.
Sue Clarke was prohibited from babysitting Aaliyah when she was born. During her pregnancy with Laianah, Hannah told her that Rowan Baxter had slammed a gate on her leg. Rowan was also incredibly rude to his mother-in-law and refused to apologise. Hannah was forced to apologise to him.
What Friends And Associates Said Of Rowan Baxter’s Personality
People who knew Rowan Baxter had a countless array of things. Some of these included:
- Controlling and drive
- Was macho and the alpha male
- Very confrontational
- Had to be better than everyone, including his clients.
- He’d accuse anyone better than him of being a cheat
- He was a liar
- Rowan enjoyed seeing his clients exhausted and vomiting
- He made all the decisions and ignored Hannah’s suggestions
- Baxter had a habit of “burning bridges” by criticising people and taking advantage of those around them when it came to money
- He pressured people to side with him and not Hannah
- He became suspicious of Hannah and what she was doing
- Rowan stopped sleeping and eating after the separation and wanted to see the kids constantly
- Baxter is always the victim in his mind
- Despite controlling Hannah, he was overly dependent on her to give him money and deal with the finances.
- He would use Facebook to pull support.
- Rowan told a friend that if he couldn’t get 50/50 custody, Hannah couldn’t have the kids at all – a death threat, essentially.
- He hated when Hannah was ‘parading her body around’ after the separation.
Again, the list goes on.
What Could Have Caused Rowan Baxter To Become A Monster?
There is one cause, and it is Rowan Baxter’s childhood. Given how he was raised by a father who was sexually abusive to his daughters, it gave Baxter the pass to become a monster. Two cousins of Rowan’s pointed this out to those estranged from the New Zealand Baxter family.
As Nikki Brooks told the Hannah’s Story podcast, Rowan was a narcissist, and she is correct. Given our experience studying narcissistic individuals, it is clear that Baxter had a lot of traits that point towards narcissism.
He was controlling and would constantly play the victim to get attention. In conclusion, being a boy raised in a world where women are degraded was the only thing he knew. He wasn’t raised to see the opposite as an equal partner. His insecurities were a big part of his behaviour, too. If he didn’t grasp life 1000%, he feared he’d be seen as weak and not at the top of his game.