A caretaker guarding a stately home in the UK has been sacked after giving away a royal artefact worth £5million believing it was rotten and destined for a bonfire.
According BBCBrian Wilson, who was made redundant from his post at Grade II listed Seighford Hall in Staffordshire, had allowed an antique dealer to walk away with the 460-year-old decorative piece bearing the royal coat of arms of Queen Elizabeth IM Wilson thought the trumeau in oak was riddled with woodworm and dry rot, and he even threw it on a pile of firewood, before giving it to antique dealer Andrew Potter who later tried to sell it.
Mr Potter planned to turn the sculpture into a headboard, but was alerted to its potential value and put it up for auction last year. Stafford Borough Council then went to court to stop Whitworth Auctions from selling the piece. The local authority is said to have said that no listed building permit had been granted for the removal of the panel, which is considered to be one of the building blocks of the hall.
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Mr. Wilson was then called upon by his employers to investigate the delivery of the trumeau without authorisation, as well as the sale of two fireplaces and a tractor. But he did not attend the meeting or any subsequent disciplinary meetings that led to his dismissal in 2020. He was found guilty of serious misconduct.
However, after being made redundant, Mr Wilson took his employer, Seighford Hall Nursing Home Ltd, to court for unfair dismissal.
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Labor judge Kate Hindmarch ruled the dismissal was ‘procedurally unfair’, however, she added the claimant admitted to removing the sculpture without consent, saying it was ‘in very poor condition’. BBC reported. Judge Hindmarch awarded Mr Wilson £4,065.82 as an unlawful deduction from wages and untaken paid leave. But she also ruled that he was not entitled to any further compensation for his dismissal.