Millionaire Hans Kristian Rausing was originally arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife Eva, but on Tuesday he was charged with preventing the lawful and decent burial of his 48-year-old US-born spouse.
Looking frail in the dock in west London, the bearded, bespectacled 49-year-old spoke only to confirm his name, age and address. He was granted conditional bail to appear in court again on July 26.
The court heard that Eva Rausing’s body was found in an advanced state of decomposition on July 9 under several layers of clothing and rubbish bags beside a bed on the second floor of their luxury home in London.
Police went to the house after detaining Rausing — who, as heir to the billions his Swedish father made by selling his stake in Tetra Pak, is one of Britain’s richest men — on suspicion of drunken driving.
Rausing was represented in court by Alexander Cameron, the elder brother of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Judge James Henderson ordered Rausing to reside at the Capio Nightingale Hospital, a private psychiatric hospital, and said he could not leave unless accompanied by a staff member.
The couple struggled publicly with drug problems and they were known for their generous support of several addiction charities.
The Rausing family, headed by Rausing’s father Hans, is the 12th richest in Britain, worth £4.3 billion ($6.7 billion, 5.5 billion euros), according to The Sunday Times newspaper’s Rich List 2012.
Eva and Hans Kristian Rausing enjoyed an affluent lifestyle, spending much of their time in their 11-bedroom mansion in Barbados — but battled for years against addiction.
The couple, who have four teenage children, first met at an addiction clinic and were charged in 2008 after Eva tried to take crack cocaine and heroin into a function at the US embassy in London.
Rausing’s father Hans, 86, moved to England in the 1980s in order to avoid Sweden’s high tax rates and lives with his wife Marit on a vast estate in Sussex, southeast England.
He developed the Tetra Pak business, which had been founded by his own father in 1944, into a multi-billion dollar operation that revolutionized the packaging of food and drink.