Cynthia Ann Frierson
Cynthia Ann Frierson was accused of attempting to steal a corpse in Tennessee Police handout

A Tennessee woman has been accused of walking into a funeral and attempting to remove a dead body from a casket whilst drunk. A police report alleges that Cynthia Ann Frierson hit two cars with her truck before arriving at a funeral home where it was claimed that she entered a service, walked up to the casket and began trying to remove the body inside.

The 36-year-old denies attempting to remove the corpse on Monday 5 September, saying that she knew the man and was just saying that "he was asleep". Frierson was eventually removed from the funeral when arresting police officers said that she smelled of alcohol and slurred her words.

According to the Columbia Daily Herald, Frierson has been charged with disrupting a funeral, public intoxication, unlawful drug paraphernalia and driving on a revoked or suspended licence. Frierson, of Columbia, Tennessee, is also accused of having a glass pipe with black residue in her possession.

Despite the charges, Frierson denies any wrongdoing, telling WKRN-TV that she knew the dead man and just went up and touched the body. "I did not do that," Frierson told the ABC-affiliated network. "When I went up, I just went up and touched him, and if they were recording, I just touched him and turned around and I said, 'He is just asleep,' and I said, 'Everything is going to be OK.'"

Frierson did admit that she was asked to leave the home but added "it was not a conflict". The news station added that witnesses told police she had grabbed the body. "I'm sorry about the police coming down there, and it is awful," said Frierson.

Keith Mayes, whose father was being laid to rest, said that although she did touch the casket and his hand she never tried to remove him from the casket. He said: "She kept saying, 'He is not dead, he is sleeping,' so when she did make one effort to touch his hand at that time my brother and I told her that she would have to step away from the casket.

"But as upset as we were about her presence, I don't want her to be accused of something that she did not do, and in no way did she try to remove his body from the casket."