Troubled life of heiress found dead in Belgravia


Tetra Pak heir Hans Kristian Rausing was being questioned by police last night in connection with the death of his wife Eva

EVA KEMENY was born into plenty, with her father owning an island off South Carolina. In time, she married Hans Kristian Rausing, the somewhat gauche, but incredibly rich grandson of Ruben Rausing, the founder of Tetra Pak.

Yesterday her 48 years of life ended inside a multimillion pound five-storey Georgian townhouse in Cadogan Gardens, Belgravia, which is reputed to have the biggest garden in London after Buckingham Palace.

Details are still being sketched out of her final hours. Her husband was arrested by police yesterday afternoon, allegedly with drugs in his possession, though the information that prompted the arrest has yet to be clarified.

It was being reported that police then went to search the couple’s home where they discovered the body of Eva Rausing in an upstairs bedroom. Other reports say her body had already been found by a member of staff.

A police statement last night said that a 49-year-old man had been arrested “on suspicion of possession of drugs”, adding that “the man – who was further arrested in connection with the death whilst at a south London police station – is no longer at a police station, but is currently receiving medical attention.”

An earlier police statement said: “The death is being treated as unexplained. A post-mortem was conducted at 1pm today at Westminster mortuary. We believe we know the identity of the deceased but await confirmation.”

The Rausing couple had struggled for years with addiction. They met at a rehabilitation clinic in the United States where “Hans K” had sought treatment following a hedonistic, drug-fuelled period in India where he was free of the influence of his father, Hans, the man who turned Ruben Rausing’s hundreds of millions into billions.

The couple went on to marry and had four children. But their money brought little peace. Intermittently, they suffered with their addictions and were well known as organisers and benefactors of anti-drug organisations. Hans Rausing was described by Prince Charles as “one very special philanthropist”.

Although Mr Rausing had money, he had no role. He would stay in Cadogan Gardens watching daytime television, with few interests and seemingly fewer friends.

Home life was not happy according to reports “from friends”, in the way of tittle-tattle that surrounds the lives of the hugely wealthy. The talk was of a marriage in trouble. They did, though, continue to appear in public where they were occasionally photographed by paparazzi.

Ruben Rausing built a fortune on the back of putting milk into the well-designed cartons – inspired by watching his mother make home-made sausages in the Sweden of the 1920s, but more likely because of persistent laboratory research.

Success was slow in coming. Firstly, he had the design, but no means of manufacture. In time, he had both, but no clients. Then a small dairy became the first convert, though the carton that was not supposed to leak did so persistently. The flaws were worked out.

He spent and spent on research. Gradually, export sales came from France, Germany and Italy.

However, the breakthrough did not come for another decade with new designs, the Brik and the Brik Aseptic when sales increased dramatically.

In the 1980s, because of high taxes, Hans Rausing snr left Sweden for Britain where he now lives on a 1,000-acre estate in East Sussex, with wild boar in the grounds and his pet King Charles Spaniels indoors. His children are frequent callers.

Despite his wealth, valued at £6 billion (€7.5 billion) Hans Rausing snr lives modestly. He drives a Morris Minor around his estate, according to locals.

His son and daughter-in-law, however, acquired more consumerist tastes. They have a £15 million home in Barbados, one of the biggest on the island.

The couple also bought a large apartment on The World, an ultra-luxurious cruise ship that was launched in 2002 with a very special kind of passenger in mind: those who need to be off-shore to avoid tax.