A Melbourne man who suffered extreme depression and delusions after leaving his job has been jailed for trying to force his wife into a suicide pact.
Ramesh Boodhoo, 65, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder and said he "deserved to be in prison for the rest of his life" for attacking his wife in their Craigieburn home in August 2015.
Victorian Supreme Court Justice Jane Dixon on Thursday sentenced him to six and a half years in prison, saying despite his diminished judgment Boodhoo was capable of appreciating the moral wrongfulness of what he was doing.
The trained nurse, who "led a blameless life" prior to the depressive episode, will spend four years behind bars before being eligible for parole.
Justice Dixon described the offending as "unusual" and Boodhoo's lapse into disturbing behaviour "unexpected".
It was sad nobody had given Boodhoo "sufficiently assertive" treatment before he offended, despite signs he was suffering severe depression and psychotic delusions, Justice Dixon said.
Boodhoo started having disturbing nightmares after he resigned from his nursing home job in late 2014.
He became depressed and began researching mercy killings and stock-piled knives.
His wife attempted to calm him but he tried to talk her into conjointly ending their lives.
He was convinced he and his wife would be prosecuted and jailed for building an investment property without approval and told her someone would drug and kill her if she left the house.
He took her statement that she would "rather die" than go to prison over the building permit issue as consent to the murder-suicide pact.
Boodhoo attempted to strangle his wife in early August last year.
Then on August 25, after his son had gone to school, he locked her in the house, forced her onto the floor and tried to strangle and smother her.
She escaped and called the police, telling them: "The second time I escape, maybe third time I won't be so lucky".
Justice Dixon on Thursday said Boodhoo's "psychological decomposition" was central to his offending and he has reasonable prospects for rehabilitation.
His wife continues to suffer from her injuries.
"Her trust in you was broken because she had given her life over to caring for you and your adopted son," Justice Dixon said.
- Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.