Heir avoids jail over wife's death
Hans Rausing, one of Britain’s richest men, avoided a jail sentence today after he admitted preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife Eva’s body.
Mr Rausing, who also admitted driving a vehicle while unfit through drugs, was given two suspended sentences for the offences after Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson told him his behaviour was “an illustration of the utterly destructive effects of drug misuse”.
Police discovered the body of mother-of-four Mrs Rausing in an advanced state of decomposition after they arrested her husband — heir to the Tetra Pak millions — on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on July 9th.
A post-mortem examination established that she died on May 7th and had drugs in her system, including cocaine, Isleworth Crown Court, in west London, heard.
Her decomposing body was found in a fly-filled room in their luxury London home hidden under a pile of clothing and bin bags which had been taped together.
The court heard that Rausing told police in a statement after his arrest: “I do not have a very coherent recollection of the events leading up to and since Eva’s death. Safe to assure you that I have never wished her or done her any harm.”
“I do not feel, with the benefit of hindsight, that following her death I acted rationally.
I tried to carry on as if her death had not happened and batted away any inquiries about her,” he said.
“I believe, in the period since Eva died, I have suffered some form of breakdown,” he added.
Ms Rausing (48) one of Britain’s richest women, was found beside a bed in an annexe on the second floor of the opulent house in Cadogan Place in Chelsea, which she shared with her 49-year-old husband.
Both Mr Rausing and his wife had a long history of drug abuse and the couple’s problems had been widely reported.
In 2008 they were investigated by police over drugs but the prosecution was formally discontinued.
Mr Rausing, heir to a £5.4 billion fortune from his Swedish father’s business, was charged with drugs offences after police found crack cocaine, cocaine and heroin during a search of his home.
After lengthy discussions between his legal team and prosecutors, he accepted a conditional police caution instead.
The couple were arrested in April that year after Ms Rausing was caught with drugs as she tried to enter the US embassy in London.
Court documents revealed that Ms Rausing, then 44, was carrying about 10g of crack cocaine, 2.5g of heroin and 2.35g of diethylpropion, a banned stimulant and appetite suppressant.
A further drugs stash - 220mg of diazepam, used to treat anxiety -was also found in her Renault Clio car.
The couple’s townhouse was subsequently searched and officers found 5.63g of crack cocaine, 2.9g of heroin and almost 52g of cocaine.
The conditional cautions, administered by a senior local officer, meant the couple admitted possessing the drugs.