The lawyer for a man charged with first-degree murder in the death of a York University student from China says his client sexually assaulted the woman but he didn't mean to kill her.

Brian Dickson, 32, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Qian Liu, but his lawyer has told the jury he should instead be found guilty of manslaughter.

Liu had been chatting via webcam with her ex-boyfriend in China when he saw a man force his way into her room, try to embrace Liu and then when she resisted, he pushed her down out of the webcam's view.

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Brian Dickson is accused of first-degree murder in the death of York University student Qian Liu, 23. (Alex Tavshunsky/CBC)

Dickson's lawyer, Robert Nuttall, says in his closing arguments that he's not disputing that there was a "despicable" sexual assault and that it caused her death, but he says the Crown hasn't proven Dickson had murderous intent.

Nuttall suggested the pathology and DNA evidence fits with a scenario of Dickson sitting on Liu's chest while he was sexually excited and unwittingly causing her death by asphyxia from chest compression or the position of her neck.

The case is expected to be in the jury's hands on Monday.

The Crown suggested in its closing arguments that Dickson killed Liu to silence her after he tried forcing himself on her and she resisted.

Semen, matched to a very high probability to Dickson, was found on Liu's abdomen and groin area, and the Crown suggested Dickson deposited it there after Liu was already dead.

Liu was found dead mostly naked and face down on the floor of her off-campus basement apartment on April 15, 2011.