A man who killed a stranger on the street has made an angry outburst in court, telling his sentencing judge he was an old man who had been "framed" for the murder.

Warren Leonard Pay, 52, appeared in the High Court at Wellington this morning for sentencing after earlier being found guilty at trial of murdering 29-year-old Faapaia Fonoilaepa in Taita, Lower Hutt.

As Justice Helen Cull began reading the facts of the case, Pay interrupted, saying it was "lies" that he had approached and challenged Fonoilaepa in the street.

"That's lies, they attacked me from behind," he said loudly from the dock.

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"I'm sorry your honour but I can't handle this. I feel sorry for that young man but you turn around then and I say I challenged them, that's not true. They run up behind me and attacked me from behind."

Pay became more agitated and appeared to be close to tears as he continued.

"I'm an old man, I had no intentions on none of that. I'm losing out on my own children and my own mokos, and my mother is dying . . . I've been framed."

Justice Cull had to take an adjournment so Pay could be taken out of the room and spoken to by his lawyers.

She then brought him back into the room to tell him what his sentence was, before sending him away again so she could continue explaining the case and the reasons for the sentence without interruption.

According to the facts, Pay was wearing a metal chain link vest and a mouthguard and carrying a homemade gun and a butcher's knife when he came across the victim on September 14, 2018.

Fonoilaepa and his friend had been drinking, and were walking down High St at the time.

Pay approached the men and challenged them before attacking them with his fists. He then crossed the road, and the men followed him and continued the fight, punching Pay to the ground and stomping on him.

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As they went to leave, Pay yelled something, and Fonoilaepa returned. Pay stabbed him through the heart with the knife he was carrying.

The whole incident took two minutes and 10 seconds.

A jury has found him guilty of murder, and possessing an imitation firearm and a knife. He had earlier pleaded guilty to having ammunition.

Justice Cull said Pay had suffered a brain injury as a child, which he believed exacerbated his feelings of fear and anger.

Most of his previous convictions are drug-related.

A psychiatric report found no indication of mental illness, but did note his use of methamphetamine, and a lack of impulse control and other evidence of personality dysfunction.

Justice Cull said it was accepted the two men punched, kicked, and stomped on Pay, but "nothing that occurred that night justified Mr Pay's extreme, excessive response".

She referred to a letter sent to her by Pay, in which he said he was devastated by the whole incident and wished he could trade places with the victim.

He said in his letter he had worked hard to move from a gang lifestyle to a family lifestyle, and was sorry for the pain he'd caused Fonoilaepa's family, and the burden he'd placed on his own whanau.

Pay was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non parole period of at least 10 years. He also received a strike warning.

His family cried in the public gallery as the sentence was handed down. As Pay left the courtroom he pressed his hand against the glass barrier between the dock and the gallery and told his mother he loved her.