September 26, 2022

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Convinced her friend Colin Hastie was a paedophile, Danielle Sheryl Erica Beutel brutally assaulted the 63-year-old for days in order to gain a confession.

After Hastie died in April 2019, audio of 13 “interrogations” found on Beutel’s phone indicated he was struck almost 250 times.

Suffering a psychotic illness exacerbated by substance abuse, Beutel can be heard making delusional claims amid Hastie’s screams, Brisbane Supreme Court heard.

A woman faces sentence for killing a friend she believed was a paedophile while she was psychotic. (AAP)

She not only believed Hastie was involved in a paedophile ring but also a DNA experiment, accusing him of stealing 16 foetuses from her to create a “superior race”.

Beutel, now 43, also claimed Hastie had injected her with the SARS virus as well as mercury.

The court heard witnesses had seen Beutel behaving erratically, repeatedly punching Hastie and accusing him of being a paedophile up to six days before his death at Maleny, north of Brisbane.

One witness said Beutel described Hastie as “putrid scum” and that she was going to take him out to a forest to kill him.

She told another that Hastie had “stolen her eggs and DNA”.

Others noticed Hastie with facial bruises and looking “defeated and severely beaten”.

Days later another witness went to Hastie’s house after hearing yelling and was initially stopped by Beutel from entering before seeing the 63-year-old inside with two black eyes and a bleeding arm.

Police were called but when they arrived at Hastie’s house, no one was home.

Later that morning Beutel visited a neighbour and asked them to call the police because Hastie had fallen down the stairs.

Hastie was pronounced dead at Maleny hospital a short time later.

His injuries were consistent with being struck with a broomstick or a metal rod and he died from complications from multiple blunt force injuries, his autopsy said.

Beutel repeated her “bizarre” claims about Hastie when interviewed by police.

She also told officers she was related to the Queen and that she could “get justice through her connections”.

Police then found her phone audio recorded over two days that included 248 “striking sounds” and Hastie groaning, screaming in pain and begging not to be hit anymore.

One of the recordings – lasting 13 minutes – was set to be played on Wednesday but Justice Paul Freeburn opted to listen to it outside court.

Beutel was suffering from a serious mental illness that caused a psychosis made worse by alcohol and drug consumption at the time, the court heard.

“The tragic death of Colin Hastie was caused by a woman who was completely detached from reality,” defence barrister Catherine Morgan said.

She said psychiatric reports indicated at the time Beutel was “floridly psychotic”, driven by the intensity of her delusions.

“She was a very unwell woman,” Morgan said.

The fact that Beutel was recording her repeated assaults of Hastie indicated the “depth of her psychosis”, she said.

Morgan said Beutel’s psychosis was now in remission and that she had gained insight with improved mental health, acknowledging that her “bizarre ideas” were now false.

Beutel pleaded guilty to manslaughter and will be sentenced on Thursday.

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