Heir spared jail over dead wife

Hans Rausing, one of Britain's richest men, has been spared a jail sentence after he admitted preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife Eva's body.

Rausing, who also admitted driving a vehicle while unfit through drugs, was given two suspended sentences for the offences after Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson told him his behaviour was "an illustration of the utterly destructive effects of drug misuse".

Police discovered the body of mother-of-four Mrs Rausing in an advanced state of decomposition after they arrested her husband - heir to the Tetra Pak millions - on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on July 9.

A post-mortem examination established that she died on May 7 and had drugs including cocaine in her system, Isleworth Crown Court in west London was told.

Her decomposing body was found in a fly-filled room in their luxury London home hidden under a pile of clothing and bin bags which had been taped together.

The court heard that Rausing told police in a statement after his arrest: "I do not have a very coherent recollection of the events leading up to and since Eva's death. Safe to assure you that I have never wished her or done her any harm."

Rausing was given a 10-month prison sentence suspended for two years for preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife. A second two-month prison sentence suspended for two years was imposed to run concurrently after he admitted a charge of driving while unfit through drugs.

Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson, the Recorder of Kensington and Chelsea, also ordered that he should undergo a two-year programme of drug rehabilitation with a requirement to be supervised by a probation officer during the same period.

Judge McGregor-Johnson said: "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.

"You and your wife had every material advantage imaginable, and for a time a happy family life. Your relapse into the misuse of drugs, together with that of your wife, destroyed all that."