Jail for man who burned his own house down 'in temper'

A man who burned his own house to the ground after losing his temper has been jailed for two years.

Andrew Sheppard, 47, reduced the uninsured building to ashes.

Ieuan Rees, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court how Sheppard and his wife Jacqueline had built an eco house in woods near Llanboidy.

By March 23 the property was almost complete but the couple were still using a caravan to cook in.

A row developed and at one stage Mrs Sheppard locked herself in the caravan and said their marriage was over.

Sheppard forced his way in and told her: "I'm going to prison for what I'm going to do. I'm going to burn the place down."

For the next hour she could hear Sheppard smashing everything of value in the house, Llwyn y Croi, even a toilet.

She decided to walk to her parents' home away but soon saw an orange glow coming from the location of the house.

Fire crews from Whitland, Crymych and Narberth took three hours to deal with the blaze. The house had been built with natural materials, all of which had burned away.

Sheppard was found laying on the ground clutching an empty bottle of red wine.

Mr Rees said it was not possible to place a value on the house, but Mrs Sheppard had lost £10,000 worth of personal items in the fire.

"It was a scene of utter devastation," added Mr Rees.

Sheppard's barrister, John Allchurch, said his client had suffered "an avalanche of emotions" on the day and had now lost his home, his liberty and his marriage.

Judge Peter Heywood said that in temper, Sheppard had destroyed everything he had achieved and had used petrol to make sure he completed the job.

Sheppard admitted arson.

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