Lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo said prosecutors reduced the murder charge against Samantha Jones, 51, to culpable homicide, which is murder without intent, after the defence appealed to the attorney-general’s office.
A conviction for murder carries a mandatory death sentence by hanging.
“She is very relieved having come to terms with what happened that night and for the court… to understand what happened that night. She didn’t intend for this to happen,” the lawyer told reporters at the end of the hearing.
In addition to the 42-month jail sentence, the lawyer said Jones was also fined 10,000 ringgit (£1,800).
Wearing handcuffs and a surgical mask, Jones was earlier escorted by police into the courthouse in Alor Setar in northern Kedah state for the start of the trial.
She was charged nearly two years ago after police found a blood-stained kitchen knife in the couple’s home where John William Jones was found dead on October 18 2018.
Police have said Jones confessed she stabbed her husband in the chest during a heated argument.
The couple moved to tropical Langkawi island 11 years ago under the Malaysia My Second Home programme, which gives foreigners long-stay visas.
The lawyer said the couple, who had been married for 17 years, were devoted to each other but Jones was struggling with physical violence by her husband.
“Unfortunately Samantha found herself at the receiving end of abuse. She supported John through various therapies to address certain problems that he had, none of which worked obviously, until that unfortunate night when things took a turn for the worst,” the lawyer said.
“She has accepted the fact that she needs to serve the sentence. She acknowledged the fact that a life is lost and I think she is looking forward to her own recovery because this was indeed a traumatising event for her.”
The lawyer added Jones, who has spent 20 months in detention, could be released as early as the end of next year with one-third off the sentence for good behaviour.