How riches attract 'elite' drug dealers

Even as the Rausings checked out of rehab, they were surrounded by well-connected pushers

When she stood on the doorstep of her Belgravia townhouse shortly after her arrest for carrying a cocktail of Class A drugs into the US embassy in her handbag, Eva Rausing appeared dishevelled but contrite. In a statement, she said: "I have made a serious mistake, which I very much regret... I hope in due course to get back on track and become the person I truly want to be."

It was a brave and doubtless heartfelt declaration of intent in a life already, by 2008, punctuated by narcotics binges and visits to rehabilitation centres for the then 44-year-old socialite who sought to give purpose and structure to a life of conspicuous privilege and bottomless wealth by philanthropy.

Together with her Tetra Pak heir husband, Mrs Rausing, who had four children, regained a veneer of if not respectability then at least understanding in the four years after being charged with drug offences as they attended glittering parties, fundraising balls and provided multi-million pound patronage to addiction charities.

While figures including Prince Charles argued that Eva should be given a "second chance", others were less impressed. Sir Ian Blair, the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, made it known that he saw the decision to drop charges against the couple after £2,000 of crack cocaine was found at their home in return for a conditional caution, as amounting to one law for the rich and another for those who aren't. Yesterday the extent to which the public persona of the recovering and repentant addict was the flip side of a still-tarnished coin was becoming clear as police continued to investigate Mrs Rausing's death and pieced together the events that preceded the arrest on Monday of her husband, Hans K Rausing, driving erratically in south London while his wife's body lay in their home.

Friends of the couple said that their attempts to leave behind their drug abuse were hampered by the coterie of "elite" dealers who continued to surround them even as they checked out of rehab clinics and recovered some of the strength required to overcome addiction.

Pictures of the pair taken in recent weeks underlined the extent to which the warning bells were once more ringing. Her hair long and unkempt and carrying a bottle of mouthwash used to treat gum disease, Mrs Rausing looked far from the woman pictured in a emerald necklace next to her clean-shaven husband at a society ball in 2004. Mr Rausing, stooped and unshaven in an ill-fitting jacket, has been seen walking along the streets of Chelsea clutching a pouch of rolling tobacco, a shadow of the glossy-haired figure of a few years ago who stands to inherit a share of his father's £4bn fortune.The role played by crack, cocaine and heroin – all found in the couple's home in 2008 – in the events of this week remains to be ascertained. But in the past it seems the Rausings had access to a "closed market" of drugs, a network of high-end dealers offering the sort of discretion required by super-wealthy users at the sort of prices that the super-wealthy are willing to pay.

The Independent understands that central London and other monied corners of the country are serviced by a number of well-connected dealers, often considered friends as much as pushers, who source high-purity drugs, delivered in a manner guaranteed not to attract unwarranted interest.

The grim arabesque of addiction and cure that followed Mrs Rausing in the final years of her life belied deeper issues and inter-dependency with her husband. Mr Rausing reportedly once refused to enter a rehab clinic in Thailand because it meant he could not be with his wife, whom he had met during addiction treatment in the 1980s. In 2010, Mrs Rausing turned her paranoia on his family – his father Hans, who lives frugally on the family estate in Sussex with his wife Marita, and his sisters, Lisbet, a scientist, and Sigrid, owner of the literary magazine Granta. She wrote in an email: "I feel his family has acted dishonourably towards him."

The Rausings and Eva's own family, whose efforts to help the couple turn around their lives are known to have been extensive and unceasing, have only been able to look on in despair.

Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
Voices
Sweet tweet: Victoria Beckham’s selfie, taken on her 40th birthday on Thursday
voices... and her career-long attack on the absurd criteria by which we define our 'betters', by Ellen E Jones
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit