Lottery rapist Iowarth Hoare planned to turn a £2m listed building that overlooks an all-girls' school and a convent into an art gallery.

Hoare, who won £7m while on day release from prison, browsed around the apartment complex, in Ashbrooke, Sunderland, last week. It is believed that he was planning to house his art collection there.

His move to Holborn Road, on the Hylton Lane Estate in the city, sparked fury after reports that it was costing £10,000 a month in taxpayers' money to protect him while his jackpot earned £30,000 a month in interest.

During his time at the house, the 51-year-old bought a £9,000 work of art from the National Glass Centre in the city, and visited auction houses to spend a reported £10,000 a month on art and antiques.

It has now been revealed that the jackpot winner, who was using the name Edward Thomas, planned to house his collection in the city, until his wherabouts was revealed in a national newspaper and he was moved from Wearside by the probation service.

If his whereabouts had not been exposed Hoare, branded a menace to all women by a judge, could have bought the former school building, which is only yards away from the girls' school and a convent.

He inspected the 100-year-old West Lodge last week, along with the Rectory Lodge flats next door, which are being sold together by estate agents Finn and Jackson for £1.9m.

Partner John Finn said he was almost sure it was Hoare who had called at their office in Hylton Road on Monday or Tuesday last week, before going to the site.

Mr Finn said: "He came into the office and asked for details and the sales particulars. He asked if he could go to the Rectory.

"I told him: 'I'm really busy, I can't take you down, but go and have a look if you're interested'.

"He had a leaflet with some sort of heritage details on it. We believe he was interested in opening an art gallery in the old building."

West Lodge was built in the early 1900s and has 28 rooms.

Rectory Lodge, built in 1998, is a three-storey block of flats.

A spokesman for the National Glass Centre, where Hoare bought the £9,000 artwork called Large Glass Suit, said: "We attract 100,000 visitors a year. It is impossible to vet all members of the public who visit the National Glass Centre, or those who buy pieces of art."

The artist who made the piece, Sculptor Conrad Atkinson, 65, said he would give his share of the proceeds of the sale, about £5,500, to an appropriate charity.