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A Willetton man has admitted murdering his wife but will fight an allegation he already planned the crime when he earlier purchased a hammer used in the killing.

Sampathawaduge Eustace Sudath Silva was arrested after his wife's body was found in their home February, 2012.

He pleaded guilty to murder in December, but today his defence lawyer Seamus Rafferty, acting on instructions from lawyer Evan Shackleton, said while Silva admitted intending to kill his wife, he was disputing that he had premeditated the crime.

Mr Rafferty said the prosecution was claiming Silva had been premeditating the murder when he earlier bought a hammer, and that the matter would need to be disputed at a trial of issues.

The trial of issues was listed for three days starting on May 27.

Silva appeared via videolink from prison and was remanded in custody.