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Addict Hans Rausing Hid His Wife's Body

The billionaire Tetra Pak heir is convicted in London of preventing the lawful burial of his wife and fellow-addict, Eva.

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Hans and Eva Rausing once had "a happy
family life." Photo via

By McCarton Ackerman

08/01/12

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Billionaire Tetra Pak heir Hans Rausing has received a suspended 10-month prison sentence for hiding the body of his wife Eva Rausing for more than two months after her death, preventing her lawful burial. The pair were both drug addicts, and an autopsy found traces of cocaine, opiates and amphetamines in Eva Rausing's blood. Hans Rausing must now receive in-patient treatment at the Capio Nightingale psychiatric hospital in London for the next two years. "If ever there was an illustration of the utterly destructive effects of drug misuse on individuals and their families, it is to be found in the facts of this case" said Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson. Mr. Rausing’s lawyer, Alexander Cameron (brother of Prime Minister David), said his client acted “when, as Shakespeare would put it, the balance of the mind was disturbed,” and was psychologically incapable of accepting his wife’s death upon discovering her body in their posh mansion on May 7—more than two months before authorities arrived at the mansion on June 9. After finding the body, “He has no recollection of the next 10 or 12 hours,” said Cameron. “He did not move the body. He described her as looking quite restful. 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.”

“You and your wife had every material advantage imaginable, and for a time a happy family life,” McGregor-Johnson told Mr. Rausing. “Your relapse into the misuse of drugs, together with that of your wife, destroyed all that.” In determining the sentence, the judge took into account Rausing's previous good record and his numerous contributions to addiction-related charities. Eva's father, Tom Kemeny, said the couple had been sober for many years after they met in a treatment center in the US. But their sobriety ended when Eva had a glass of champagne just before the ball dropped on New Year's Eve 1999. After that, he says, their addictions spiraled out of control; by 2008, they were "effectively recluse"—speaking only to each other and locking themselves in the second floor of their mansion. Rausing's family is the 12th richest in Britain, worth more than $6.7 billion.

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