Video: Billionaire avoids jail for failure to dispose of wife's body
Hans Rausing, one of Britain's richest men, avoided a jail sentence yesterday after he admitted preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife Eva's body.
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 under a pile of clothes in their house in Chelsea, west London on July 11.
They made the grim discovery after they arrested her husband -- heir to the Tetra Pak billions -- on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on July 9.
Rausing (49) hid the body of his wife at their £70m (€89m) home for two months because he "did not want her to leave", the court heard.
He pleaded guilty yesterday to preventing her lawful burial, saying: "I know it's is selfish, but I just did not want her to leave."
Isleworth Crown Court heard that Mrs Rausing slipped into the life of drugs that led to her death after drinking a glass of champagne to celebrate the Millennium.
The couple, who met in a rehabilitation clinic in their mid-20s, had four children and enjoyed "every material advantage" thanks to the billions the Rausing family earned from the sale of their Tetra Pak packaging firm. The court heard that Mrs Rausing had abstained from drink and drugs for 11 years, but fell off the wagon after celebrating new year in 2000.
For the next decade the couple struggled to beat their addictions, but eventually all but withdrew from life, spending their days in a squalid annexe of their home.
Her husband was initially arrested on suspicion of murder, but a post-mortem later showed that the 48-year-old, who was fitted with a pacemaker, had died on May 7 as a result of heart failure, coupled with drug use. Toxicology reports found traces of cocaine and amphetamines in her system.
Alexander Cameron, defending, told the court: "The defendant committed this offence when, as Shakespeare would have put it, the balance of his mind was disturbed."
Sentencing Rausing to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, Judge McGregor-Johnson ordered him to attend a residential drug rehabilitation unit for two years.
Rausing was also sentenced to two months in prison suspended for two years for driving under the influence of drugs, to which he had also pleaded guilty. He will pay £1,000 (€1,270) costs. (© Daily Telegraph, London)