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Multi-millionaire Rausing pleads guilty to preventing US-born wife's burial

Alan Davidson / Picture Library Ltd via AP, file

Eva and Hans Kristian Rausing attend the Glamour America Fashion Show and lunch at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Britain in London on Nov. 26, 1996.

LONDON -- Multi-millionaire Hans Kristian Rausing pleaded guilty Wednesday to preventing the proper burial of his wealthy U.S.-born wife Eva, whose badly decomposed body was found in the luxury London home she shared with her husband.

A spokeswoman for Britain's judiciary told The Associated Press that Rausing, whose father made billions selling his stake in the Tetra Pak drinks-carton empire, pleaded guilty at London's Isleworth Crown Court to charges of "preventing the lawful and decent burial" of his 48-year-old wife.

She spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office policy.

Police discovered Eva Rausing's body in early July after her husband was stopped by police after driving erratically. It was found in a fly-filled room under a pile of clothing and garbage bags which had been taped together.   

It was possible Eva Rausing died up to two months before her body was found, Isleworth Crown Court heard, according to BBC News.  A post-mortem examination established that she had drugs in her system, including cocaine.   

In a statement to the court Hans Kristian Rausing said he had been unable to confront the reality of his wife's death, the BBC added.

'Very traumatized'
He told police that he did not have "a very coherent recollection of the events leading up to and since Eva's death" but that he had never wished her any harm.

"I did not supply her with drugs. I have been very traumatized since her death," he added, according to the BBC. "I do not know what caused her death. I did not feel able to confront the reality of her death."

The judiciary spokeswoman told the AP that Hans Kristian Rausing would be sentenced later. He has been treated in a psychiatric facility in recent weeks.

His father has a net worth net worth estimated at 4.3 billion pounds ($6.7 billion) from the Tetra Pak sale.

Tragic story of addition
Hans Kristian's plea caps a tragic story of addiction and wealth.

Eva Rausing's father Tom Kemeny, a former Pepsi executive, said in a statement on July 17 that his daughter had earlier returned to the British capital to try to persuade her husband to join her in drug treatment in the U.S.

"At the time of her death her over-riding concern was for the safety of her beloved husband, for whom she interrupted her own treatment to return to London in an attempt to take him back with her to California, but tragically to no avail," he said in the statement.

The couple's struggles with addiction -- long known to their close friends and family -- became widely known in 2008 when Eva Rausing was caught trying to smuggle crack cocaine and heroin into the U.S. Embassy in London in her handbag.

Police later found more drugs, including a sizeable amount of cocaine, in a search of the couple's townhouse and the two were charged with drug possession.

Police struggle to shed light on US-born heiress' death

Prosecutors later agreed to drop the charges in exchange for formal police warnings when the couple -- who gave millions to anti-addiction charities -- admitted guilt.

Before the embassy arrest, Eva Rausing's good looks and beautiful clothes -- along with her husband and his friendly, bear-like countenance -- had made the Rausings, who had married shortly after they met in the 1980s, welcome participants on the London philanthropic scene.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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