A Melbourne man viciously beat his "detested" ex-wife unconscious with a table leg, then strangled her to death with an extension lead after a fight over a heater.
Mehmed Solmaz, 62, was jailed on Monday for 25 years over the May 2017 murder of former Village Cinemas cleaner Fatma Solmaz, 61, who was in remission from leukaemia.
After the brutal killing, Solmaz fled Victoria but was caught by Queensland police just days after leaving Fatma dead on the floor, with a knotted extension cord wrapped tightly twice around her neck.
When he was extradited back to Melbourne, Solmaz made "implausible" claims his former wife planned to poison his food or kill him as he slept, but admitted during his arrest "I killed the wife", later uttering "I'm regretful a thousand times".
"I must have lost myself," he said in a police interview.
The pair wed as teenagers in Bulgaria in an arranged marriage, a union that became "very unhappy" after they migrated to Melbourne with their two sons.
They divorced during the 1990s - but continued to co-habit at their Sunshine West home.
On the day of her death, the pair had an argument over Solmaz's use of the heater, when he claimed his former wife struck him with a coffee table leg.
In response, Solmaz grabbed the piece of wood and beat her with multiple, forceful blows to her face, head, torso and limbs until she lost consciousness.
"While she remained unconscious and helpless on the floor, you obtained the electrical cord, wrapped it around her neck more than once, and pulled it tight to strangle her," Supreme Court Justice Andrew Tinney said while sentencing on Monday.
"Your crime was a crime of extravagant and drawn-out violence committed against a physically weaker person whom you apparently detested and who had offered some provocation to you by striking you with the leg of the table.
"Your crime was a most extreme overreaction to the modest provocation she had offered you."
Justice Tinney said Solmaz then packed a suitcase with clothing and money, going about his business "in heartless fashion" as his ex-wife lay dead on the floor.
Solmaz finally pleaded guilty to murder in August 2018, just before he was due to stand trial.
Justice Tinney said it was highly likely Solmaz's claims his wife planned to kill him were false.
He added the killer had an "extremely high" level of moral culpability, having acting in "homicidal rage" rather than from a psychologically distorted state.
Solmaz, who has already served 809 days in pre-sentence detention, will be eligible for parole once he has spent 20 years behind bars.
Australian Associated Press