Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll has issued a public apology for “victim blaming” by the detective leading the investigation into the tragic murder of Hannah Clarke and her children in Brisbane.
Following the fatal ambush by her estranged husband Rowan Baxter, Detective Inspector Mark Thompson had stressed that “our job as investigators is to keep a completely open mind.”
“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 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 said.
Speaking on ABC Radio Brisbane, Carroll said that she had spoken with Thompson in order to clarify his statement, admitting that it was “victim blaming at its worst.”
“I do understand the job police have, they have a really difficult job with domestic violence, but we’re now talking about not investigating domestic violence – it’s actually murder-suicide.
“Nothing the victim does should end her life tragically. Women have a right to walk away from a relationship of any description.
“I apologise for what was said and how it was said – the phraseology was completely wrong and the words and the way it was said should not have been used.
“[Thompson] went on to try and explain definitely that it is abhorrent and unacceptable; he should have said this matter needs to be investigated to go before the coroner.”
Carroll said Thompson is “distraught and gutted” about how he phrased his statement.
“This man who has protected Queensland communities all his life and has worked endless hours – he cannot believe the way he has phrased that,” she said.
“All he wanted to say was he needed to get evidence before a coroner.”
Several domestic violence support workers and journalists slammed the comments yesterday, stating they were “clumsily framed” and gave “legitimacy to what has occurred”.Image: AAP / Rob Maccoll