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Tetra Pak heir arrested after wife's death

Hans Kristian Rausing, one of Britian's richest men and heir to packaging company Tetra Pak, has been arrested after his wife's body was discovered in their London home.

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One of Britain's richest men may have lived with his dead wife for a week while he went on a drugs binge.

Police only found the body of Eva Rausing at her home in Chelsea, west London, several hours after they stopped her husband, Hans Kristian Rausing, for driving "erratically".

I like him very, very much. He's shy. I'm worried how he will cope 

Detectives suspect that Mrs Rausing, 48, may have been dead for up to a week before she was discovered on Monday and are investigating whether Mr Rausing, 49, an heir to the Tetra Pak fortune, had visited a drug dealer in the hours before his arrest.

Unlikely crime scene ... Police stand guard outside the Rausing's 70 million pound Chelsea home.

Unlikely crime scene ... Police stand guard outside the Rausing's Chelsea home. Photo: Getty

Mr and Mrs Rausing had turned their £70 million town house into a squalid drugs den in the months before the heiress's death and were living in just two rooms, according to a family friend.

The friend, who did not want to be named, said: "It was total squalor. Really messy. You wouldn't believe they were billionaires. It shows the effects of drugs. They couldn't look after themselves or their house."

The death of Mrs Rausing, who was American-born, follows a long battle with drug addiction which she described in a posting on a social networking website.

Boudy found ... police have taped off the Rausing home.

Body found ... police have taped off the Rausing home. Photo: Getty Images

Writing five years ago, she said she had become clean after a "troubled" period when she dropped out of university, but added: "I fell back into the same hole as before and have been there for nearly seven years."

The mother of four also paid tribute to her "very kind, patient and loyal" husband in the internet post, saying: "I'm very lucky that he has stuck with me - many would have not."

Addiction support charities backed by the heiress spoke of her generous donations and frankness about her own battles.

Eric Carlin, a former chief executive of Mentor, recalled that on one occasion a trustee of the charity had said: "We all agree we don't like drugs," to which Mrs Rausing replied: "No, I love drugs. That's the problem." Lord Mancroft, a former chairman of the charity, described Mrs Rausing as "sweet, charming and childlike, very bright and very dedicated to the cause". He said her struggles had been "obvious", adding: "Last time I saw her it was apparent she was not well."

In an effort to establish when Mrs Rausing was last alive, detectives have taken CCTV footage from cameras attached to the couple's house and questioned members of staff who live in mews properties at the back of the residence.

The heiress appeared to have suffered an overdose, but pathologists have been unable to find an immediate cause of death due to the state of her body and have ordered further tests.

Mr Rausing's whereabouts during that period and knowledge about what happened is a key part of the police inquiry.

It is understood that another crucial line of investigation is the source of any drugs that may have killed her.

Mr Rausing was arrested in south London on Monday morning and Class A drugs were allegedly found in his possession, sources said. It was not until Monday afternoon that officers discovered Mrs Rausing's body at the couple's five-storey home in Cadogan Place.

Police then re-arrested Mr Rausing in connection with his wife's death. Interviews were halted on Tuesday when he was taken to a clinic, apparently suffering from the effects of drug withdrawal. Sources said he was likely to remain there for some time.

Mrs Rausing's sister, Be Kemeny, 46, said nothing had seemed wrong when she last saw the heiress in Barbados at Christmas. Speaking at her beach house in South Carolina, Ms Kemeny said: "I want to know my sister's last words. I know she would have wanted to say something to me."

Ms Kemeny, who was once married to Jack Kidd, the polo-playing brother of the model Jodie Kidd, declined to discuss her sister's struggles with drugs.

She described Mr Rausing as "devoted", adding: "I like him very, very much. He's shy. I'm worried how he will cope."

Tributes to Mrs Rausing were led yesterday by the Duchess of York, who described her as a "special friend", and the queen of Sweden. The Prince of Wales was said to be "saddened" by her death.

Mr Rausing's family, which established the Swedish Tetra Pak drinks carton empire, is worth an estimated £4.5 billion and was ranked as Britain's 12th richest in last year's Sunday Times Rich List.

The Daily Telegraph, London