Eva Rausing, one of Britain’s richest women, died as a result of cocaine abuse, a coroner ruled yesterday.
The 48-year-old’s body lay undiscovered for two months before she was found at the five-storey west London home she shared with her husband Hans, heir to the Tetra Pak fortune.
She was discovered in a fly-filled room hidden under a pile of bedding with a foil pipe in her hand, Westminster Coroner’s Court heard.
Police found the mother-of-four’s body in an advanced state of decomposition after they had arrested Rausing on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on July 9.
He was given two suspended sentences in August after admitting preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife’s body.
A post-mortem examination found his wife died on May 7 and had drugs in her system, including cocaine. Deputy coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said Mrs Rausing died as a result of cocaine intoxication contributed to by a heart condition,tricuspid valve disease.
Delivering her verdict, she said: “Mrs Rausing’s death was as a result of the dependant abuse of drugs.” Toxicology reports on Mrs Rausing showed 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 morning of May 7.
Mr Rausing, heir to a £5.4bn fortune from his Swedish father’s business, had been arrested in Wandsworth on July 9 when people saw him driving erratically and alerted the police.
When officers stopped his car they found inside a pile of post addressed to Mrs Rausing, and drug paraphernalia.
When officers asked where his wife was, Rausing replied she had been in America for the last two weeks. But the police decided to search his home in Chelsea.
They discovered Mrs Rausing’s body in the bedroom of a second floor annexe in the couple’s home in Belgravia, London.
Housekeepers working for the couple had been told never to enter that area of the property and had last seen Mrs Rausing in late April, the inquest heard.
Officers searching the house detected the smell of decomposition and discovered the body after removing furniture blocking the entrance to the room and gaffer tape sealing the door.
In a statement read to the inquest, Mr Rausing said he had been left devastated by the death of his “beloved wife”.
Mr Rausing said in hindsight he had not acted “rationally” by hiding his wife’s body.
The bedroom where her body was found was a “scene of disarray”, with syringes and drug paraphernalia on the floor and tarpaulin covering the bed, said Det Insp Sharan Marman, who led the investigation into Mrs Rausing’s death,