A man injured himself while removing his cousin’s dead body from a coffin so he could see in the New Year with him.

Yesterday Kevin Rivera told horrified relatives that he missed a New Years Eve family get-together because he had exhumed Jassir Jose Rivera Gomez’s at a local graveyard.

They initially dismissed it as a lie but later discovered Rivera had cut himself while removing Jassir’s body from its niche at San Jacinto Cemetery in Gaira near Santa Marta, Colombia.

Respected Colombian daily newspaper El Heraldo said cemetery officials phoned them later in the day to confirm they had discovered Jassir’s body had been removed from its resting place when they turned up for work in the morning.

Jassir had reportedly died in a traffic accident some two years ago.

Freddy Rangel, one of his uncles, told the paper: “When we asked him why he hadn’t turned up for the New Years Eve celebrations, he said he had exhumed his cousin’s body because he loved him a lot and wanted him out of his niche so he could see in the New Year with him.”

Milena Rivera, Jassir’s mum, criticised cemetery bosses over the lack of security.

She told the newspaper “Where was the night watchman, the gravedigger or the other people who work there?”

The dead man, who lost his life two years ago when he tried to jump aboard a tractor, is thought to have been buried again in the same niche after it was repaired.

Kevin, said to suffer mental health problems, was treated in a local hospital after “becoming aggressive” following his confession, according to the local reports.

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