Mr Charn never once opened the coffin. He said no odour emerged from it and he believed that the formalin used for funeral preparation in 2001 preserved the body.
“We didn’t tell anyone, so nobody knew,” he said.
He is estranged from his sons, who are in their 40s and have never lived with him in this compound which, overgrown with vegetation and littered with construction materials, stands in stark contrast to the large bungalows in the neighbourhood.
The pensioner sleeps in a second small, threadbare shed, while a concrete kennel houses his six dogs and two cats, which he spends most of the day caring for.
When asked if he was ever scared about keeping a dead body around, Mr Charn said: “No, I was never scared because I love her.”
Mr Charn, who used to work in a pharmaceutical company, has a degree in pharmacy. He studied traditional Chinese medicine and taught himself to speak English.
He could not recall when he retired, or when he got the law degree he said he pursued to arm himself with legal knowledge, should his wife’s body ever be discovered and he had to make a case to hold on to it.