A serial rapist who beat his housemate to death in a Melbourne backyard has pleaded with his victim’s distraught wife for forgiveness, saying it was a case of “mistaken identity”.

A serial rapist who poured himself a glass of wine and said a prayer in the moments after beating his housemate to death in a Melbourne backyard has pleaded with his victim’s distraught wife for forgiveness, saying it was a case of “mistaken identity”.
Key points:

  • Daniel Hounslow kicked and punched Micah Kawalek up to 40 times
  • Hounslow claimed he was suffering from a delusion about Mr Kawalek’s identity
  • He will be sentenced at a later date

But Julie Kawalek has addressed her husband’s killer directly in Victoria’s Supreme Court, telling Daniel Hounslow that his actions were “demonic” and that she knew he was dangerous from the beginning.
Hounslow, 42, has pleaded guilty to murdering Micah Kawalek by beating him to death at a rental property in Wyndham Vale in March last year.
Mr Kawalek, 49, was sharing crisis accommodation with the accused man after his marriage broke down.
But today his wife, Julie, revealed that she still expected things to work out between them.
“I believed that Micah would return home,” Ms Kawalek said.
“I sensed you were dangerous when you called me,” she said.
“I deeply regret not trusting my gut instinct and intervening somehow.”
Shortly after midnight on March 24, 2019, security footage at the house the men shared together showed Hounslow holding Mr Kawalek by the neck and leading him to the back door.
They had been drinking together before the incident, and testing would later show that Hounslow also had the drug ice in his system.
Crown prosecutor Neill Hutton said it was in the backyard where Hounslow beat Mr Kawalek to death, kicking and punching him up to 40 times.
“He admitted the kicks were pretty hard,” Mr Hutton said.
“He felt a powerful desire to hurt him.”
Security footage shows Hounslow going back into the house several times, including to get the cord of a dressing gown to strangle his victim and a doona to cover the body.
Eventually, he covered the body with branches.
In the moments after his victim died, Hounslow poured himself a glass of wine and drank it while surveying the scene.
He also said a prayer.
Hours later, police arrived and arrested him.
Murderer claims he was suffering a ‘delusion’
Today, in a pre-sentence hearing, the Supreme Court heard that Hounslow, who has previously been convicted of eight rapes, was suffering from a delusional disorder when he killed Mr Kawalek.
“He was suffering from the delusion that Mr Kawalek was his brother Brian, who had sexually abused him when he was four years old,” his barrister, James McQuillan, said.
“Had Mr Hounslow not been suffering from the delusion that he was at the time, namely, that Mr Kawalek was his brother, the act would not have occurred. He wouldn’t have killed anyone that night,” he said.
Mr McQuillan acknowledged his client faced a significant prison term and apologised on behalf of his client.
“The sensational things that my client said about Mr Kawalek were completely untrue and part of a delusion on his part.”
But the Crown today rejected the notion of mistaken identity.
“He wanted to kill, he did kill,” Mr Hutton said.
Victim was ‘a good man at the lowest point of his life’
Today, Mr Kawalek’s family wept as details of his death were read out in court.
His wife, Julie, remembered him as an avid nature lover who worked hard to support his family.
But she said Mr Kawalek’s life spiralled when his brother died and he turned to alcohol to cope.
“This was the broken man that you saw,” Ms Kawalek told Hounslow in court today.
“You took advantage of an innocent, defenceless man a good man at the lowest point of his life,” she said.
“In one night you changed my life forever. It was the darkest time of my life. You turned me into a widow at the young age of 40,” she said.
“Micah and I deserved to enjoy many more years together, but you stole that from us,” she said.
“What you did was just demonic.”
Hounslow, who has been remanded in custody, will be sentenced at a later date.