Inseparable: Elderly couple die just four minutes apart

Wilf and Vera Russell
Wilf and Vera Russell had been together since their teens (Facebook)

They were so in love that only war and the onset of dementia could get close to forcing them to spend a night apart.

Wilf Russell had been married to his wife Vera for 71 years, and until recently they had never spent a night apart, except for when Wilf was sent to Africa during World War II.  

They were engaged when Wilf was 18 and Vera just 16.

Mr Russell was hospitalised three months ago when dementia meant he began to deteriorate physically. 

Mrs Russell would spend as much time by his side every day, but it was a visit from his wife just three weeks ago that changed everything for the couple.

Leaving the visit, Mrs Russell informed her family that her husband no longer recognised her.  

This shook her so much that she too was hospitalised at a medical centre just three kilometres away.

Family spoke of how Vera was just "waiting for him to go"  and the timing of their deaths would soon back that theory.

In the early hours of Wednesday last week, Mr Russell died at their local hospital.  Just four minutes later and 3km away - his wife Vera also passed away.

There was no time for her to be told her husband had died.

The couple will be buried side by side after a joint funeral in Leicester this week.