He couldn't bear to see his late wife being taken to the mortuary, so he slept beside her for six days.

Russell Davison’s wife Wendy died at their home in Derby, England, after a 10-year battle with cervical cancer.

He said he was determined to keep her at home with their four children and not hand her over to a funeral director.

The dad now wants to reassure others that staying close to a loved one’s dead body is nothing to be scared of.

Russell said he washed and dressed Wendy’s body and placed it in a coffin, which he called a “cocoon”, in the couple’s bedroom.

The leasing agent insists it should be “the way we treat our dead,” saying it allowed him and the boys to come to terms with their devastating loss.

Russell said: “Wendy died very peacefully, fully sedated, in no pain in mine and Dylan’s arms with our ever faithful dog Elvis snuggled up right next to her too.

“She looked absolutely beautiful, just like she always did in life: no effort, no make-up, just radiant beauty.

“We have been fooled by TV and films into thinking there is something to be scared about with dead bodies – there is not, I can assure you.”

Wendy, 50, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2006 – just after the couple’s joint 40th birthday, and was told three years ago she had six months to live.

But she shunned chemotherapy and radiotherapy and embraced “natural health,” Russell said.