1. ITV Report

Painting sold to pay care home fees

Essex County Council logo. Photo:

A painting belonging to an elderly man has been sold by Essex County Council for £24,000 to help pay for his care home fees, a council said.

The council said Stratford-upon-Avon Sunset - a 1906 work by artist Lucien Pissarro - had been auctioned.

Council bosses had been given permission to raise funds by selling the painting by a judge following hearings in the Court of Protection.

A council spokeswoman has given detail of the sale.

District Judge Anselm Eldergill had been told that the painting was thought to be worth between £20,000 and £30,000 at hearings in London in 2013.

He had ruled that the council could also sell a house owned by the man plus other possessions.

The pensioner's son had initially objected to possessions being sold - then changed his mind.

Judge Eldergill had told how the man was moved into a care home after undergoing surgery.

The judge said local authority officials had been appointed to make decisions for the man because he had been found to "lack capacity".

He said care home fees had been running at nearly £400 a month and the man was faced with an annual cash shortfall of nearly £15,000.

Judge Eldergill had heard evidence from the man's relatives and local authority officials before deciding how to raise money.

The Court of Protection is part of the High Court and analyses issues involving vulnerable and sick people.

Hearings usually take place in private.

Judge Eldergill ruled that details of the case could be reported after The Independent newspaper and the Press Association news agency argued that coverage would be in the public interest.

The judge said the elderly man should not be identified - and no detail of his address publicised.

But he ruled that Essex County Council could be named and praised staff for the high level of service they had provided to the pensioner.