David Bestwick, 60, had become infatuated with Maria Howarth, 44, and built-up a sense of rejection and resentment towards her after she had been kind to him, but did not want a relationship.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how Bestwick, of Chesterfield Road, had walked Ms Howarth home following a night out at the White Swan pub in Greenhill, on September 5. Hours later he called the police, saying he had strangled her, and when asked why by the operator, responded by saying "I loved her, she didn't want me".
Police attended Ms Howarth's home in School Lane and found her on the sofa unconscious. She had suffered an unsurvivable brain injury due to a lack of oxygen after a cardiac arrest, caused by pressure to her neck.
She was taken to the Northern General Hospital but pronounced dead on September 8.
Bestwick denied murder, but was found guilty following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court last Friday. He was today sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 17 years.
In a statement, Ms Howarth's family said: "Maria believed in the British Justice System and the family would like to thank South Yorkshire Police for their diligence and professionalism in bringing the defendant to justice. But no sentence, however long is as long as the sentence the family will have to endure with this heinous crime that has been committed."
Detective Chief Inspector James Axe, Senior Investigating Officer, said: “My condolences once more go to Maria’s family and I echo their sentiment that no sentence passed will ever be able to undo the pain of losing their loved one.
“Bestwick will now spend a considerable period of time behind bars for his mindless, violent crime that took a woman’s life, though again this will be of little consolation to Maria’s family.
"He has refused to accept responsibility for his actions and as such, her family has had to sit through a distressing trial.
"I would like to recognise the actions of those officers who first attended the scene and captured some vital early evidence for the investigation, and those officers who have worked hard over the last five months to bring this matter before the courts and seek justice for Maria."