Heiress Found Dead in London Home
The body of an American heiress was found wrapped in trash bags and sealed with tape, a London court hearing for the woman’s husband, Hans Kristian Rausing, revealed today. Rausing, 49, who has been charged with delaying his wife’s burial, was granted conditional bail and ordered to appear at Isleworth Crown Court July 26.
Eva Rausing, 48, may have been dead for at least a week when police found her body in her London home July 9, according to the BBC.
A cause of death has yet to be established for Eva Rausing, who was said to be “in an advanced state of decomposition,” according to a statement given by prosecutor Brinkman May to the court today.
Authorities said they were waiting on toxicology results to shed more light on Eva Rausing’s “unexplained death” and said there were no signs that would point to homicide.
Hans Kristian Rausing, a Swedish-born billionaire heir to the Tetra Pak food-packaging fortune, was arrested for driving erratically on July 9. Upon searching his car, police found drugs, which prompted them to search the home he shared with his wife in London’s Belgravia neighborhood, according to a Metropolitan Police spokesperson.
During the traffic stop, authorities found a crack pipe in Rausing’s car and letters addressed to his wife, May said in court today, as reported by the London Evening Standard.
“When officers asked who this person was,” referring to the addressee of the letters, “his demeanor changed, and he appeared to well up,” May told the court.
Rausing was rearrested later that day in connection with his wife’s death. He was placed in treatment for alcohol withdrawal and could not be immediately questioned by police in the week following the discovery of his wife’s body, authorities said.
Together, Hans and Eva Rausing were well-known as a billionaire power couple who donated generously to addiction-related charities but also secretly battled the same demons that brought them together 25 years ago in an American rehab clinic, where they first met.
Eva Rausing served as a co-patron, along with the Duchess of Cambridge, on the drug charity Action on Addiction. She was also a patron of the Mentor U.K. charity, a group that works to keep children away from alcohol and drugs. The couple counted Prince Charles as a friend.
The Rausings’ appetite for drugs was not publicly known until their arrests in 2008.
That year, a security guard caught Eva Rausing trying to sneak drugs into a party at the U.S. Embassy in London.
Officers then searched the couple’s home, where they found crack, heroin and cocaine. The Rausings were issued a formal caution and the charges were dropped.
At the time of the embassy incident, Eva Rausing told reporters she was ashamed of her actions.
“I am very sorry for the upset I have caused. I have made a grave error, and consider myself to have taken a wrong turn in the course of my life,” Rausing told the BBC in 2008.
Rausing alluded to her struggle to fight addiction on her Myspace page.
In a posting, which appears to be from 2007, she wrote that she was looking for ways to use her time constructively.
“I fell back into the same hole as before and have been there for nearly seven years. I once read that I would have seven bad years (I don’t normally believe in hocus-pocus horoscopes), but so far it has been right,” Rausing wrote. “I’m hoping for seven good years starting 2007.”
The couple have four children together.