Monday, 16 July 2012


Eva Rausing death: a world of drugs and paranoia in a £70m fortress

The tragic last months of Eva Rausing saw her caught in a spiral of paranoia and despair fuelled by her drug addiction, her friends have disclosed.

Eva and Hans Kristian Rausing in May 2012 (left and right)


Their property in Cadogan Place, Chelsea

By Jason Lewis, Investigations Editor

10:30PM BST 14 Jul 2012

The wife of the Tetra Pak heir, who was found dead of a suspected drug overdose on Tuesday, was tormented by fears that she and her husband, Hans Kristian Rausing, were being spied on at the London home they shared.

She had also come to believe they were being targeted by international criminal gangs in the months before her death.

Her decline has been revealed by the friends she turned to for help in uncovering what she saw as a conspiracy of “bribes, lies and sleaze” against them.

One friend, who has known the couple for more than 20 years, told The Sunday Telegraph how they had turned their £70 million home in London’s Belgravia into a virtual fortress, living in a few upstairs rooms where even their live-in servants were banned from entering.

“Eva said they believed the house was under surveillance and someone who had worked for them and who they trusted was involved. They were really spooked,” the friend said. “She didn’t know what to believe and who to trust.”

Mrs Rausing, 48, was found dead last week following a police search of the couple’s home after her husband was detained for possession of controlled drugs.

An inquest heard that her death was so far unexplained, with investigators awaiting the results of toxicology tests. Mr Rausing, 49, had been arrested on suspicion of murder, but had not yet been questioned as he was being treated for the effects of alcohol withdrawal.

Mrs Rausing’s mother, Nancy Kemeny, 72, said she believed her daughter was killed by a heart condition made worse by flights between London and California for drug treatment.

The friend of the Rausings, who had been in regular touch with the couple over many years, said they last heard from Mrs Rausing at the end of March when she had asked them to keep an eye on Mr Rausing, the son of the billionaire founder of the Tetra-Pak packaging empire.

She told her friend she was planning to “go away for a little while” and asked them to stay in touch with her husband to make sure he was all right while he was on his own. According to the friend, Mrs Rausing had said: “I really appreciate it as I worry about him and we are both very dependent on each other.”

Hans Kristian and Eva Rausing seen in May 2012 (Noble/Draper)

Mrs Rausing, a mother of four, also told her friend: “Things are not going well with Hans’ family ... it is hard to keep going sometimes.” Mr and Mrs Kemeny said their daughter had visited them in the US in April and planned to seek treatment for her addictions, but had returned to England because she was worried about her husband.

The Rausings, who were friends of the Prince of Wales and had given millions of pounds to charity, had become increasingly isolated following a long battle with addiction which saw both cautioned four years ago by Scotland Yard for drug offences.

In 2008, Mrs Rausing, who met her husband at a rehabilitation clinic, was stopped trying to take class A drugs into an event at the US Embassy in London. Heroin and cocaine were later found in a police search of their home.

The Cadogan Place property, which is two town houses knocked into one and linked by underground passageways to two mews properties, was wired to allow the couple to apparently eavesdrop on visitors arriving at their home.

The friend feared for Mrs Rausing and her husband, who had “lost all sense of night and day”. Their few visitors were often asked to come around in the dead of night.

The friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the couple were taking huge amounts of heroin, supplemented by cocaine and prescription painkillers including morphine. “Eva said the doses of morphine would have killed most people,” the friend said.

On one occasion another friend, who also asked not be named, said they had gone to see Mrs Rausing at 11pm earlier this year.

“Eva met me in the kitchen at Cadogan Place,” the friend said. “She confessed it was the first time she had been in the kitchen or the ground floor for several months. Apparently the servants cooked for her and Hans and then left the food on the first floor landing.”

The downstairs of the house is beautifully decorated, and adorned with art, while the basement contains a cinema. But the friend said: “It felt like nobody was home. No one really lived there.”

One of the rear mews houses is used as the Rausings’ garage. The building contains his-and-hers Ferraris, both covered in dust.

In recent months Mrs Rausing’s paranoia and fear had reached new heights. She believed that the couple were being targeted by “very, very bad people”, including people who had “done business in Russia for a very, very long time”. Eva also said she was “terrified”.

The friend said the couple feared former staff members had been paid to spy on them and that their computers and mobile phones were being “hacked”. Last week it was reported that a team of ex-SAS officers working for a security company had been keeping Mrs Rausing under surveillance in an attempt to prevent her from buying drugs.

Another friend said: “One minute Eva would trust you, tell you she loved you, the next she would accuse you of betraying her. She talked of putting a curse on me and said I would 'attract very black energy’. Then next time we spoke she would apologise.”

In more lucid moments Mrs Rausing would acknowledge her own delusions. The friend said: “One day earlier this year Eva said, 'Something is definitely not right in my own mind. Thank you for helping me to see this. I don’t like it but it is good to know that it is internal rather than external.’”

It has been suggested that Mrs Rausing may have been dead for some time. She had not been seen in public since early May and her parents last heard from her via a text message of May 3.