Shooting witness turned YouTube star comes clean

Mon May 25, 2009 2:29pm EDT
 
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CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) - An Australia woman's account of a late night shooting in Sydney has turned her into an Internet sensation with T-shirts, mugs and a dance remix made in her honor but there's just one problem -- she made it up.

Sydney woman Clare Werbeloff's dramatic account of a shooting, with her "chk chk boom" firing of a gun and imitation of the men involved, made her an overnight hit on video sharing website YouTube, prompting about 500,000 viewings.

The 19-year-old has since received invitations to appear on various TV shows and even the offer of a bikini photo shoot.

But the Australian media were left red-faced when the first task of Werbeloff's newly hired agent Adam Abrams was to admit his client did not actually witness the shooting, and told police that she made the story up for a TV camera on site.

Abrams told Australian media that Werbeloff would not detail her reasons for fabricating the story but denied the video was an advertising setup. Werbeloff had gone into hiding after media camped outside her home.

The 27-year-old victim of the shooting, Sydneysider Justin Kallu, was not amused as he nursed a wounded knee.

"I'm just a bit upset about the fact that I've been shot and that I almost lost my life and there's this girl all over the news getting popular, all because she has no brains," Kallu said in emailed comments to newspapers.

(Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Miral Fahmy)