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Hans Rausing Admits Hiding Wife's Body
Hans Rausing has avoided jail after admitting hiding his wife's body and driving while under the influence of drugs.
Rausing, 49, was given 10-month and two-month suspended sentences for the offences after pleading guilty at Isleworth Crown Court in west London. Both terms were suspended for two years.
Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson, who also ordered the Tetra Pak heir to start a two-year rehab programme, said his behaviour had been "an illustration of the utterly destructive effects of drug misuse".
He added: "You and your wife had every material advantage imaginable, and for a time a happy family life. Your relapse into the misuse of drugs, together with that of your wife, destroyed all that."
Eva Rausing's body was discovered at the couple's luxury home in Chelsea in an advanced state of decomposition after her husband was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on July 9.
It was left in a fly-filled room on the second floor of the couple's opulent property, hidden under a pile of clothing and bin bags which had been taped together.
A post-mortem examination established that the 48-year-old, who was one of Britain's richest women, died on May 7 and had drugs, including cocaine, opiates and amphetamines, in her system, the court heard.
The couple had a long history of drug abuse.
Prosecutor James O'Connell told the court that "deodorising powder" was found on the clothing around Eva's body and that drug paraphernalia was found in Rausing's car when he was stopped by police.
"The defendant appeared to be under the influence of one substance or another. The search of the car revealed a substantial amount of post addressed to his wife," Mr O'Connell told the court.
When asked where Eva was, Rausing told officers she had been in the US for the past two weeks, Mr O'Connell said. He told the court Mrs Rausing had returned to the UK on April 29 and met with her financial adviser on May 3, which was the last time she was seen.
She had expressed concerns about her husband's "chaotic lifestyle", Mr O'Connell told the court.
Alexander Cameron QC, David Cameron's brother, defending Rausing, said he had committed the offence "when as Shakespeare would put it, the balance of his mind was disturbed".
A psychiatrist's report had showed an "overwhelmed" Rausing would have been "extremely traumatised and extremely frightened" when he found her body, he said.
He told the court Rausing had felt "numb and paralysed" when he found his wife, who had heart problems and wore a pacemaker, had died.
"He has no recollection of the next 10 to 12 hours. He did not move the body. He described her... as looking quite restful," he said. "He felt quite unable to face up to the fact that she had died, almost like a small child. He could not face up to telling anyone else that she had died."
In his police statement, which was read in court, Rausing said: "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 did not supply her with drugs. I have been very traumatised since her death. I do not know what caused her death. I did not feel able to confront the reality of her death.
"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 added: "I believe, in the period since Eva died, I have suffered some form of breakdown. I fully understand that my wife of 19 years is dead and I am devastated, particularly for my children, by her death."
He is said to have told a psychiatrist: "I know it is selfish but I just didn't want her to leave."
The psychiatrist's report found he was suffering feelings of severe anxiety and "feelings of inferiority and a tendency to medicate his anxiety by drug taking and a tendency to deal with his emotional conflict by denial", the court heard.
Bearded and bespectacled, Rausing - whose family made a fortune when they sold the Tetra Pak drinks carton business in the 1990s - had been on bail on the condition he stayed at a private hospital in London and only left the building accompanied by a member of staff.
Rausing and his wife were in trouble with the police over drugs in 2008 but the prosecution was formally discontinued.