An elderly woman found living in filthy conditions without electricity or heating should not return home, the High Court has ruled.

The woman's case came to the attention of the court last month and it was ordered that she be removed to hospital.

It also emerged that despite living in squalid conditions, €160,000 was lodged in court for her as a result of a personal injuries case.

However her former solicitors had failed to progress an application to make her a ward of court.

The court heard that a cleaning company engaged by her court-appointed guardian had described the condition of the woman's house as the worst they had ever seen.

Rooms were filled with bags of rubbish and there were open packets of raw meat and cat food. The garden was also filled with rubbish and was rat infested, the court heard.

The woman, whom psychiatrists reported as holding delusions and paranoid beliefs, was so fearful she did not sleep at night and filled rooms with bags of rubbish to deter intruders.

Her court-appointed guardian, Catherine Ghent, told Mr Justice Peter Kelly it was "extremely upsetting" to see the state of the house and her view was, "on any human level", the woman cannot go back there.

When the judge was first alerted to the woman's situation last month, he directed her immediate removal to hospital where she remains.

Medical and psychiatric reports assessed the woman as lacking capacity to make decisions about her welfare and the judge said despite the woman's objections he must make her a ward of court.

Because she is continuing to have hospital treatment, he directed she should remain there but noted that was considered unsuitable in the longer term and said nursing home options should be explored.

He stressed he will later inquire into why an undertaking by solicitors who had acted for her in a personal injury case to seek wardship after she secured a €160,000 award was not complied with.

The "tragedy" is, all the time the woman was living in "truly awful" conditions of "considerable squalor", she was a person of means with €160,000 lodged in court for her, he said.

The €160,000 may now go towards funding nursing home care but the woman's situation, including her capacity, will remain under review. 

The judge also said he was prepared to direct funds be provided to pay for a trip to Lourdes for the woman as she had indicated a desire to go there.

The woman several times resisted giving Ms Ghent the keys to her home but eventually did so and described what would be faced in each room.

Ms Ghent said the woman was embarrassed about the condition of the house but was also concerned items she had ordered from catalogues, still in unopened packaging, would be thrown out.

The woman had said she was happy in the hospital unit and staff were kind to her but at a later stage was unhappy over being moved to a different ward.

She was delighted to be told her cat, which had been found in very poor condition, is doing very well following veterinary treatment.

The solicitor said she had arranged with a company to clean the house and when she and that company's managing director visited there this week, he described it as the worst he had ever seen.