Thaiday ‘like a shell’ over Camp Hill horror
BRISBANE Broncos great Sam Thaiday is "like a shell" in the wake of the horrific Camp Hill murder-suicide, with his wife revealing he reached out to Rowan Baxter in the weeks before he murdered his young family.
Rachel Thaiday said Sam, who trained at Baxter's Capalaba gym, called her as she was leaving a lunch on Wednesday, having learnt that Baxter had callously killed his estranged wife Hannah Clarke and their children Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey before taking his own life.
She said Sam's words after the act of evil were: "I just want to see the girls".
Sam, 34, who has two young daughters Gracie and Ellsie, had recently tried to contact the former rugby league player, who was contracted to the NZ Warriors.
Rachel says he "spent a large part of his last year of footy with" Baxter in 2018.
"We are both in shock. Sam's like a shell," Rachel said.
"We both lost a friend when we were 21. He took his own life. Sam had reached out to him - just to reach out and see if he's OK.
"Sam had done the same (with Baxter) over the last couple of weeks, just reaching out to say 'Are you OK?' but hadn't sort of had any response.
"I don't think anyone could foresee that (murder-suicide) happening."
Sam trained at Baxter's Integr8 Fitness for about 12 weeks in 2018, in his last year with the Broncos, as did fellow former Broncos star Matt Gillett.
Late Wednesday, he asked Rachel to cancel a planned appearance at an event that night to spend time at home with his family.
On Thursday he shared a photo of Rachel, Gracie and Ellsie to his Instagram page, writing "love love love".
"He's a father now. It's hit home for him really hard," Rachel said.
"He just said 'I just want to see the girls'. That's all he said all night and just to hug them a little tighter and tell them how much he loves them.
"It's terrible for everyone involved. I don't know if there's anything that can be said."
Rachel paid tribute to Hannah, who died in the hours after the horrific murders on Raven St.
"I think we need to stop and recognise how amazing of a mother she (Hannah) was and how amazing the kids were and focus on that," she said.
"As a mother, I couldn't imagine losing all my babies."