The Court of Appeal has significantly reduced the sentence of a 63-year-old St Mary man who set fire to a married woman’s house because she turned down his advances.

Lindell Howell had set fire to the house after blocking the doors with wood to prevent the escape of the woman and her family, who had gone to bed.

The incident occurred June 13, 2013, a day after the woman turned down Howell when he revealed romantic feelings for her.

Howell pleaded guilty in the St Mary Circuit Court, July 17, 2015, to the offence of arsonand was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment at hard labour.

Howell — who has three previous convictions for violence — successfully appealed his sentence and the Court of Appeal removed eight years from his penalty.

The court discounted his sentence for the fact that he pleaded guilty at the earliest possible time and because he spent two years in lockup prior to being sentenced.

In addition, the court ordered that the sentence be reckoned as having commenced on the sentence date, July 23, 2015.

This means Howell will be released from prison in eight years’ time.

According to court documents, Howell and the woman had a “cordial relationship”. The relationship even caused the woman’s husband to accuse Howell of having an affair with his wife.

On June 12, 2013, Howell confessed to the woman that he had a romantic attraction toward her. She, however, expressed disinterest.

The following night, after the woman and the other occupants of her house had turned in, Howell blocked the doors to her house with wood and set the house afire.

The occupants escaped unhurt and the woman fled the building through a window.

On June 14, 2013, the police accosted Howell and he admitted having set the house afire. He accused the woman of using him and causing people laugh at him.

According to court documents, Howell had sought to justify his actions by making “vicious” allegations against the woman.

 Community members burnt down his house after he was arrested.