CALGARY -- A man who argued he was fending off an attempted sex assault when he stabbed his new neighbour 37 times in what the judge called "crazy, excessive force" has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Nicholas Rasberry was found guilty of manslaughter in October in the death of school teacher Craig Kelloway.

Rasberry admitted stabbing Kelloway after the two men and their wives had spent time drinking and visiting at a barbecue in May 2013. But he said he acted in self-defence.

Rasberry said Kelloway, who was originally from Glace Bay, N.S., had threatened to sexually assault him and then his wife.

Calgary Queen's Bench Justice Robert Hall said he did not view the stabbing as "mere self-defence."

"Rasberry stabbed Kelloway 37 times. In doing so he broke one knife and had access to another. He broke a second knife and bent a third," said Hall.

"It is important that the sentence denounces the crazy, excessive force used by Rasberry in killing Kelloway. The number of stabbings and slashings with the use of three weapons is a substantial, aggravating factor in this case.

"Another aggravating factor is the devastating effect on the Kelloway family," Hall said. "He (Kelloway) was of good character and had never been in trouble with the law."

Rasberry, 32, did not visibly react to the sentence, but as he was being escorted out of the courtroom, he said to his mother: "I love you." She replied, "I love you too."

With credit for time already spent in custody, Rasberry faces another five years and four months in prison.

The Crown has already appealed the conviction, arguing Rasberry should have been convicted of second-degree murder.

Rasberry's lawyer, Hersh Wolch, said he was disappointed with the sentence and conviction. He indicated his client will probably appeal as well.

"The real issue that everybody's grappling with is when someone has an attempted rape on them, and an attempted rape on their wife, coming up in their own home, how far can you go to defend yourself?" Wolch said outside court.

"How much can you do to protect your wife and yourself?"

Court heard Rasberry made a call to 911 after the attack, saying he'd stabbed Kelloway, 31, when the teacher tried to have sex with him after the women had left the men for the evening.

He told investigators he felt like he had to "put him down," but said the last thing he wanted was for Kelloway to die.

The courtroom was full Friday. Most onlookers appeared to be Rasberry's friends and family.

"They all know he was attacked. They all know he and his wife were put in danger and they all know he was traumatized by it," Wolch said.

"Our position is we don't even think he should have been charged."