A NSW man who strangled his elderly mother told police she had blamed him for his father's death, a Sydney murder trial has heard.

Terrence David Kain, 48, called his sister and told her, "Mum's dead. I strangled her. She's dead," his Supreme Court trial heard on Tuesday.

Kain has pleaded not guilty to murdering his 74-year-old mother, Beverly Kain, in their Goulburn home on February 27, 2011.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of substantial impairment, but the plea was not accepted by the crown.

Crown prosecutor Siobhan Herbert told the jury of six men and six women they would hear evidence Kain strangled his mother after an argument in the home they shared.

Kain told police at the scene he had drunk about 10 stubbies of beer and was not drunk, but had just "freaked out", Ms Herbert said.

"He told them his mum blamed him and his smoking for having killed his father," she said.

His father had died of cancer about 13 years before, the court was told.

The jury was told Kain was an alcoholic, had suffered some brain damage as a result of his alcoholism and had a history of self-harm.

After shooting himself in the leg in 1991, he had an artificial limb.

His sister Debra Stinson told the court Kain had rung and told her he had killed their mother before hanging up.

Ms Stinson said she called him back and asked, "What the hell have you done?" before contacting emergency services.

She said she didn't think her brother sounded drunk, but his voice didn't sound "normal".

"It was very flat, monotone," she said. "There wasn't much emotion in it at all."

Ms Stinson, who is 10 years older than her brother, said Kain was a "very loving, beautiful child" before he started drinking in his teens.

She said she had never seen him behave in a violent manner.

"I've never seen him be violent, whether he was sober or drunk," Ms Stinson said.

Defence barrister Peter Williams said the jury would hear medical evidence Kain was mentally impaired at the time of the killing.

"His capacity, his ability to think properly, was impaired," Mr Williams said.

"Based on his diminished capacity and his diminished ability to reason, you will find his culpability is one of manslaughter, not murder," he said.

The trial continues before Justice Michael Adams.

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