A New Zealand man has been sentenced to three years in an Australian prison after attempting to rape an airline hostess last year.

Greyson Murphy was waiting to board a Jetstar flight from Melbourne to Christchurch last April when he attacked the hostess.

The 26-year-old would later tell Australian Federal Police (AFP) he intended to undress the woman and rape her.

Greyson Murphy, 26, of Christchurch, pleaded guilty to attempting to rape a worker at Melbourne Airport. Photo / Supplied
Greyson Murphy, 26, of Christchurch, pleaded guilty to attempting to rape a worker at Melbourne Airport. Photo / Supplied

"I was in the girl's toilet and I grabbed a girl and another girl grabbed her off me," Murphy told AFP.

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"I am sorry ... Because I grabbed a girl and I was trying to rape her but she broke free."

Before the Melbourne incident, Murphy had committed a similar offence in Bali and spent two weeks at a mental health facility in Perth afterwards.

Murphy is an only child and had been raised by his mother after his father died in a motor vehicle incident when he was six days old.

His mother moved to Australia to live with Murphy in Melbourne after he moved there and started a joinery business.

While Murphy was waiting at Melbourne Airport, the hostess - who had been working at the customer service centre - decided to go to the toilet.

Murphy watched the woman enter the toilets before following her in and decided to stand in a cubicle.

The assault occurred at Melbourne Airport in the female toilets. Photo / Getty Images
The assault occurred at Melbourne Airport in the female toilets. Photo / Getty Images

Another airport worker noticed Murphy watching the women's toilets and could see his feet underneath the cubicle door.

After the hostess left her toilet cubical and went to wash her hands, Murphy approached her from behind and grabbed the woman by her hips.

He attempted to drag the hostess back into a cubicle when the other woman came to her aid and she eventually broke free.

AFP was called soon after the incident and he was arrested and taken to Broadmeadows police station where he admitted trying to rape the woman.

In court, Murphy's barrister Dermot Dann, QC argued his client should get a discount on his sentence because of mental illness.

The court heard Murphy was fortunate not to be in a Bali prison following the similar incident after his family members helped rescue him.

The victim was a Jet Star employee. Photo / Getty Images
The victim was a Jet Star employee. Photo / Getty Images

It was also heard Murphy attacked a female prison worker while on remand and was put into lockdown.

Murphy admitted to the doctor he had an urge to "touch women and let go...Just touch".

Facing up to 15 years in prison, Murphy pleaded guilty to one charge of assault with attempt to commit sexual assault when he appeared in the County Court of Victoria.

However, Judge John Carmody convicted and sentenced him to three years in jail, with a non-parole period of two years, after accepting Murphy suffered an underlying mental disorder.

Murphy could face deportation after he completes his sentence.

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