National

Cop steps aside over family murder remarks

By AAP Newswire

A detective has removed himself from the investigation into the murder of Brisbane mother Hannah Clarke and her children after intense criticism over comments he made about their case.

Ms Clarke, 31, Laianah, 4, Aaliyah, 6, and Trey, 3, were killed on Wednesday by her husband Rowan Baxter who poured petrol on them and set them alight in their car before dying of self-inflicted stab wounds.

Detective Inspector Mark Thompson on Thursday said officers were keeping an "open mind" as they piece together exactly what happened in the lead-up to the murders.

"We need to look at every piece of information," Insp Thompson said.

"And to put it bluntly, there are probably people out there in the community that are deciding which side, so to speak, to take in this investigation.

"Is this an issue of a woman suffering significant domestic violence and her and her children perishing at the hands of her husband?

"Or is this an instance of a husband being driven too far by issues that he's suffered by certain circumstances into committing acts of this form."

He clarified police were not insinuating that they believed Baxter was a victim.

"What I was trying to illustrate by my comments, were that you do see both in public commentary and in general responses from the community, that people will make those allegations," he said.

The comments drew intense criticism online, with Det Insp Thompson volunteering to step aside from the investigation during a conversation with Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll.

She apologised for his comments, saying her decision was to ensure integrity in the investigation and confidence in the police service.

Ms Carroll described Det Insp Thompson as an extraordinarily committed, experienced and brilliant investigator.

She said she also understood the outrage on social media outrage..

"If you see it in isolation, of what was fully said ... I thought to myself, 'Wow... this is really hurtful to anyone that would be affected by this'," Ms Carroll said.

"(Domestic violence) is something that we are trying to get rid of in our society, and work so hard to support, particularly, victims."

Domestic violence campaigners have condemned the comments as victim blaming.

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