Grieving widower Jiang Maode, 53, intends to keep the body of Yang Huiging close to him in the frozen casket for rest of his life following her death from leukaemia last December.

Maode talks to his wife every day at their home in south-west China and burns incense next to her body. He said: “Just before she passed away I promised her that I would keep her at home. She asked me to take her home. She couldn’t bear to leave me and I could not bear to be separated from her.”

Quoted in the Mirror, he added: “I promised her that I would keep her at home after she passed away and when she heard this she was very happy. When I come home I often speak to her for over an hour, talking about everything that happened that day.”

Maode’s son hopes his father can be persuaded to have her cremated by Christmas. Meanwhile police have asked local Tian Yuan authorities to investigate the case. Funeral parlours are only allowed by law to keep bodies for five days.