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Docs asked if I wanted to bury my leg .. they can burn it for all I care; EXCLUSIVE: TEEN TELLS OF ATTACK HORROR.

Byline: By ALLISON MORRIS

A TEENAGER who lost his leg in a shotgun attack said last night he believed he was shot in a case of mistaken identity.

Conor Weldon, 19, says he thinks the gunmen who blasted him in the leg with a shotgun in West Belfast on Friday night had mistaken him for a local criminal.

The teenager has shocked doctors at the Royal Victoria Hospital by walking on crutches within days of the brutal attack.

Conor says he has no idea if any paramilitary group is responsible for the attack but believes the gunman intended to maim him.

Speaking from his hospital bed, he said: "There are a lot of rumours going about saying this one did it and that one did it.

"I've no idea who is responsible but I do know that there is no reason for me to be targeted like this.

"I don't sell drugs, steal cars or rob houses but there is someone else who I've been told is a well-known hood.

"I've been lying in this bed wondering if I've been left with no leg because of something that someone else has done.

"If you shoot someone in the leg with a shotgun you intend to take their leg. It's not a punishment attack, it's a maiming."

Conor was attacked by two men on the Falls Road at around midnight last Friday.

He says he can't remember much about the attack except the burning pain when he was shot.

He added: I was walking with a mate when the two men attacked me.

"My mate ran off and I tried to fight them off but couldn't.

"They fired two shots. I don't know what happened to the first but the second hit me in the leg, there was just this burning pain like someone hit you with a red hot poker.

"I was still standing but I remember crying with the pain. I didn't see their faces, I didn't hear what they were saying.

"I can remember being in the ambulance but nothing else.

"When I woke up in hospital my leg was gone from the knee down.

"Doctors asked me did I want to bury my leg. I told them just to burn it or something for all I care.

"I've been told that there were over 200 shotgun pellets in my leg and there was nothing could be done to save it."

Conor says he hopes to live with relatives before trying to get a place of his own. It is the latest in a chain of tragedies to strike the teenager's life. His mother died when he was only six.

He said: "I'd like to try and live on my own - I'm getting fitted for a new leg and hopefully should be able to get about without too much trouble.

"I just want to get out of hospital now and try and get my life sorted out. I've no idea what I'm going to do in the future, I just don't want to let this finish me off."

A MAN questioned in connection with the shooting was released without charge last night.

ulster@mirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

MAIMED FOR LIFE: Conor in his hospital bed Picture courtesy of the Andersonstown News
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 20, 2006
Words:544
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