The director of the New Jersey funeral home which looked after Whitney Houston's body has denied allegations a member of staff leaked a photograph of the late star lying in her coffin.
A picture of the singer's open casket was published on the cover of America's National Enquirer tabloid following her funeral on Feb. 18 and the chilling snap sparked outrage among fans.
The grainy image was taken at the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark, New Jersey and the owner of the company, Carolyn Whigham, has now spoken out to deny any involvement.
She tells the New York Daily News, "We did not take that photo. We did not sell the photo. We would never do something like that. Whitney was a friend. I'm the one who flew to Los Angeles and got Whitney from the coroner's office. I did everything to protect her."
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And Whigham can't understand how the picture was taken, as Houston's body was protected by 24-hour security guards: "They were there 24 hours a day. They slept there with her. She was never alone, anywhere. The only time security fell back was when the family had the private viewing Friday. We weren't involved with that. The family invited its own guests."
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She also admits she has received a barrage of nasty messages from members of the public and now fears for the safety of her staff, adding, "One email said that if the person owned a dog, and the dog died, they would not come to my funeral home. I'm worried about my employees, worried about me. I've been in business since 1943. This is my name, my character. Honestly, this is my life's work. We would never do something like this."
Houston died earlier this month and she was laid to rest in her hometown of Newark, New Jersey, last weekend.