The 48-year-old Rausing’s body was found rotting under a pile of bedding on July 9th, foil pipe in hand, in a taped-up, fly-filled room in the couple’s plush, five-storey west London home, the city’s Westminster Coroner’s Court heard.
Hans Kristian Rausing inherited the billions his Swedish father made selling his stake in food packaging giant Tetra Pak after moving to the UK from Sweden in 1982.
The US-born Eva Rausing was a philanthropist who donated money to arts institutions as well as charities focusing on combatting drug abuse.
A post-mortem examination found that she died in early May and had drugs in her system.
Deputy coroner Shirley Radcliffe said Rausing died due to cocaine intoxication and that a heart condition also contributed to her death.
“Mrs Rausing’s death was as a result of the dependent abuse of drugs,” Radcliffe said.
Toxicology tests found cocaine, opiates and amphetamines in Rausing’s blood and her pacemaker revealed that she suffered a “non-survivable” heart rhythm on May 7th, over two months before she was found by police.
In a statement read to the inquest, Rausing’s 49-year-old husband said he had been left devastated by the death of his “beloved wife”. He said he heard 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’.”
Rausing said he could see his wife’s eyes dim before covering her lifeless body with duvets and bedding.
“I could not cope with her dying or confront the reality of her death,” he added.
The couple first met at a drug addiction clinic. They have four teenage children.
This branch of the Rausings is the twelfth richest family in Britain, worth 46 billion kronor ($6.9 billion), according to The Sunday Times newspaper’s Rich List 2012.
Hans Kristian Rausing was arrested after people saw him driving erratically on July 9th. Police found drugs paraphernalia and a pile of post addressed to his wife inside the car. He said his wife was away in the United States.
When police searched their home, they noticed the smell of decomposition and discovered the body after removing furniture blocking the entrance to the room and tape sealing the door.
Hans Kristian Rausing admitted at a court hearing in August to preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife and received a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
In England, inquests are held to examine sudden or unexplained deaths and can record any one of a number of possible verdicts including suicide or misadventure. They do not apportion blame.
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