Driven too far

It takes the breath away:

Queensland police have revealed that a man who killed his wife and three children by dousing them with petrol and setting them alight had a history of domestic violence and was known to them.

Not just murder but murder by extreme agony.

But in comments that have shocked domestic violence campaigners, the force says they are keeping an “open mind” about suggestions the 42-year-old Rowan Baxter had been “driven too far” and are appealing to people who knew the couple to come forward to understand his motives.

On Thursday, Det Insp Mark Thompson confirmed domestic and family violence orders had been granted against Baxter, saying there had been “a number of engagements of police” between the couple.

“When it comes to Hannah we have dealt with her on a number of occasions and worked with the Brisbane Domestic Violence Centre in supporting Hannah throughout her family issues. And we’ve also referred Rowan Baxter to support services as well.”

But in comments that drew an immediate and angry response from domestic violence advocates, Thompson also said police would keep an “open mind” about Baxter’s motives and wanted to speak to people who knew both families.

His motives for setting a woman and three children ON FIRE???

“We need to look at every piece of information 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,” he said.

“Is this an issue of a woman suffering significant domestic violence and her and her children perishing at the hands of the husband, or is it an instance of a husband being driven too far by issues he’s suffered by certain circumstances into committing acts of this form?”

Probably the latter. Definitely probably. The children probably got too loud sometimes. Won’t somebody please think of the men who set people on fire when they get frustrated?

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