London

Eva Rausing died of drug abuse, coroner rules

  • 14 December 2012
  • From the section London
Eva Rausing
Image caption Eva Rausing's body was found two months after her death

Eva Rausing, the wife of multi-millionaire Hans Kristian Rausing, died as a result of cocaine abuse, a coroner has ruled.

The 48-year-old's body lay undiscovered for two months at the couple's house in Belgravia, central London.

Her remains were found in an advanced state of decomposition on 9 July.

Deputy coroner Shirley Radcliffe said Mrs Rausing had died as a result of cocaine intoxication contributed to by a heart condition.

The hearing was told Mrs Rausing had tricuspid valve disease.

Delivering her verdict, Dr Radcliffe said: "Mrs Rausing's death was as a result of the dependent abuse of drugs."

Westminster Coroner's Court heard the mother of four's body was discovered in a fly-filled room hidden under a pile of bedding with a foil pipe in her hand.

'Non-survivable'

A post-mortem examination found she died on 7 May and toxicology reports showed she had cocaine, opiates and amphetamines in her blood.

She had been fitted with a pacemaker following heart surgery in August 2006, which revealed she had suffered a "non-survivable" heart rhythm on the day she died.

Her 49-year-old husband was arrested in Wandsworth on 9 July after he was seen driving erratically.

When officers stopped his car, they found a pile of post addressed to Mrs Rausing and drug paraphernalia.

Image caption Rausing admitted preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife

During a search of the Rausings' home, they discovered her body in the bedroom of a second floor annexe after removing furniture blocking the entrance to the room and gaffer tape sealing the door.

The inquest heard housekeepers had been told never to enter that area, and had last seen Mrs Rausing in late April.

In a statement read to the hearing, Rausing said he had been left devastated by the death of his "beloved wife".

He explained how he discovered Mrs Rausing after hearing her slide off the bed while he was in the bathroom.

"She landed sideways and her head was resting on a pillow," he said.

"I tried to pull her up. I shouted 'Eva, Eva, Eva'."

He said he could see his wife's eyes dim before covering her body with duvets and bedding.

"I could not cope with her dying or confront the reality of her death," he said.

Rausing said that in hindsight, he had not acted "rationally" by hiding his wife's body.

He denied giving his wife drugs and said the couple would buy cocaine separately.

Public battle

Det Insp Sharon Marman, who led the investigation into Mrs Rausing's death, said the silver foil found in Mrs Rausing's hand had been rolled up as a pipe with wire wool inside, indicating it had been used for smoking cocaine.

She said an investigation to find out who had supplied cocaine to Mrs Rausing remained "unresolved".

The couple had fought a public battle against addiction to drugs after meeting in a drug rehabilitation centre in 1989 and marrying in 1992.

Mrs Rausing had been clean for years but spiralled back into substance abuse after drinking champagne on New Year's Eve in 1999, the hearing was told.

Rausing admitted preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife and received a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Isleworth Crown Court in August.

He was also given a two-month jail sentence, again suspended for two years, after he admitted a charge of driving while unfit through drugs.

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