I just wanted to have a scooby at the reporting of the Rausing case here, parking the obvious tragic dimension to the story.
The bare bones; a 48 year old woman died at home, possibly/probably through drug use, and her husband hid her body in a bedroom for up to two months. He was charged with ‘preventing the lawful and decent burial of his wife’ and given a suspended sentence. He was also charged with driving ‘while unfit through drugs’.
“Unfit through drugs” is the first sub-heading on the BBC report. Rausing’s drug driving is constructed as a ‘mild’ charge. Less damning than drink driving. His suspended sentence stipulates attendance at a residential drug rehab treatment programme for two years. Eh? A residential drug rehab programme? Where? And at whose cost? These details, for the very rich, don’t need to be provided. Most drink and drug related crimes involve punitive sentences, not throwaway sentences that involve checking into programmes that are beyond the reach and knowledge of drug and drink related offenders. The unseen mechanisms that protect and facilitate the distancing of unimaginably rich people from the rules governing the rest of us are remarkable.
An outcome of Louise Casey’s recent ‘report’ is that problem families (that is, those whose homes were centres of drug dealing and whose children were ignored and neglected – cough cough) have been pilloried and picked over carelessly and nastily in the media. But Rausing, the BBC informs us, is a shy and awkward character.
“In a statement read to the court earlier, Rausing said he had been unable to confront the reality of Mrs Rausing’s death.
I tried to carry on as if her death had not happened and batted away any inquiries about her”
“The court heard that Rausing told police in a statement after his arrest: “I do not have a very coherent recollection of the events leading up to and since Eva’s death. Safe to assure you that I have never wished her or done her any harm.”
Phew. You run along then, matey. I almost weep at the thought of how many other people, caught up in horribly tragic situations, would have have dreamt of such a respectful engagement with their experiences (I won’t even sully this by naming names). The use of so much direct reported speech by a defendant is, in itself, unusual. The BBC clearly treat Rausing differently to your run of the mill crim.
“He added: I did not supply her with drugs. I have been very traumatised since her death. I do not know what caused her death. I did not feel able to confront the reality of her death..”
The families Casey interviewed, judged, condemned and spouted about, are not given this space and dignity. The presentation of Rausing as a “shy and socially awkward man” isn’t one afforded to others. This sugar coating is absent from judgemental and damning portrayals of other sector sectors of society. Casey’s families were solely to blame for their chaotic lives. The Rausings’ were down to the glass of champagne Mrs R was unable to resist one New Year’s eve. Oh, and the stress of being so rich. I just want to add they also had a fucking shedload of options and opportunities that Casey’s chosen few never got a sniff of.
Ironically, David Cameron’s brother was QC for Rausing. He drew on elitist gobeshite defence rubbish; “In the words of Shakespeare, the defendant committed this offence while the balance of his mind was disturbed”. So, the story was dealt with as painlessly, tastefully and smoothly as possibly. Middle England and the Chippy set barely ruffled a feather.
Rausing got a suspended sentence. Free to shoot himself up in the comfort of his Chelsea mansion. And Louise Casey’s ‘report’ on ‘Problem Families’ continues to inform policy and practice. Stay classy San Diego.