A New Zealander who was today sentenced in Australia to 22 years in jail for the bizarre strangulation of his girlfriend wants to return to his family in New Zealand when he is released.

The Victorian Supreme Court heard Michael Wilson, 52, strangled Carol Neeve, 48, at her Melbourne home in 2009, and then tried to cover up the crime, the ABC reported.

In sentencing, Justice Betty King described the "sad and senseless" killing as "bizarre, pointless and unprovoked".

Wilson, a New Zealander who lived in a caravan near the Westgate Bridge, was earlier found guilty by a jury.

He will be eligible for parole in 18 years, and told the court that he will return to his family in New Zealand when he is released.

Justice King said the couple had an "on/off" relationship and Wilson stayed over with Ms Neeve a few nights a week, Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper reported.

During the trial Wilson told the jury he and Ms Neeve argued in bed and he grabbed her around the neck from behind.

In his evidence at his trial the judge said Wilson told the jury he and Ms Neeve argued in bed and he grabbed her around the neck from behind.

"You indicated that your hands could have been around her neck but you were not sure and you said she stopped talking immediately and that you held her like that for some minutes," Justice King said.

"You said you kept your arms and hands in that position because you were really trying to cuddle her as well.

"You said when you let her go you did not realise she had died and you just went back to sleep."

In the morning, Wilson got up and witnesses said they heard him moving around the house singing country and western songs.

After Ms Neeve's body was discovered and after an ambulance was called, Wilson got back into bed and stroked her forehead saying: "She's just not well".

- NZPA