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London - The decomposing body of the American wife of one of Britain's wealthiest residents was found by police under several layers of clothing and rubbish bags at their central London home days after she died, a court was told on Wednesday.
Hans Rausing, an heir to the Tetra Pak packaging fortune, appeared in court in west London, looking frail, to face charges that he prevented the “lawful and decent” burial of his 48-year-old wife Eva, who was found dead on July 9.
The court was told that police had found her body in an advanced state of decomposition beside a bed on the second floor of the couple's six-storey townhouse in Cadogan Place, one of the capital's most desirable locations.
Officers had gone to the address after arresting her 49-year-old husband on suspicion of driving under the influence of drink or drugs. The precise date of her death has not been established.
Rausing, bearded and wearing glasses, was bailed until a court appearance later this month on condition he remained at the Capio Nightingale Hospital, a private mental hospital in central London.
Rausing spoke only to confirm his name, age and address, the Press Association reported.
He was represented in court by lawyer Alexander Cameron, the older brother of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Rausing's parents said in a statement after the hearing that their daughter-in-law's death and the details of subsequent events were a reminder of “the distorted reality of drug addiction”.
They said they hoped their son would find the strength to “begin the long and hard journey of detoxification and rehabilitation”.
The couple, who have four children, first met at a US drug rehabilitation centre in the early 1990s and gave generously to addiction treatment charities.
Eva's father Tom Kemeny said that as a child his daughter was an “immensely bright, loving but very shy little girl”.
He said the family believed she had turned to drugs in her late teens to overcome that shyness.
The Rausing family fortune was made by building up and then selling the Tetra Pak drinks packaging business. Forbes magazine puts the wealth of the Swedish family patriarch, also called Hans Rausing, at $10-billion. - Reuters