A Queensland man says he holds no ill will towards his wife, who snapped and tried to kill him with a hammer.

A man who survived a terrifying hammer attack by his wife says he holds no ill feelings towards her.

Kay Te Atarangi Lyons, 55, was sentenced to eight years’ jail in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to the attempted murder of her husband of 37 years, David Lyons.

The court heard the petite, mild-mannered cleaner snapped and lashed out at her husband after he confronted her over unpaid debts on June 4, 2013.

Lyons hit him in the head up to four times with the implement – hard enough to expose part of his brain – at the couple’s rural home at Wattle Camp near Kingaroy, northwest of Brisbane.

Justice Peter Lyons said the injuries would have been life-threatening if the 67-year-old had not received prompt medical treatment after staggering to the road and flagging down a neighbour.

However, Mr Lyons’ victim impact statement displayed a “generosity of spirit” and showed he was far more worried about the emotional consequences of the incident than his injuries, the judge said.

“(He) makes it plain that he does not wish for vengeance and he has no ill will towards you,” Justice Lyons told the prisoner.

“Indeed, he expresses considerable sympathy for you and recognises that your situation will be substantially worse than his.”

Lyons was seen muttering incoherently after the attack and told neighbours she had snapped and did not remember anything except holding the hammer.

A psychiatrist reported that Lyons had been suffering major depression, had a long-term gambling problem and had been “not entirely cognitively present” when she lashed out.

The court also heard the couple’s cleaning business had been struggling and both of them sometimes worked up to 20 hours a day, at times seven days a week.

Lyons has been behind bars since the incident and will be eligible for parole in June 2016.