Model accused of staging kidnapping 'vindicated' after man jailed for 16 years

Lester Mason
June 13, 2018

An Italian court has convicted a Polish man of kidnapping 20-year-old British model Chloe Ayling for ransom in a case that raised the spectre of young women being auctioned off online on encrypted websites.

There, she was held for six days before Herba released her at the British consulate in Milan, prosecutors said.

He was arrested after releasing her at the British consulate.

Herba denied guilt throughout the trial, and claimed that Ms Ayling agreed to the scheme to boost her career.

Italian law foresees a sentence of 25 to 30 years for kidnapping and extortion, but prosecutors asked the court in Milan to make allowance for the short duration of the abduction and a narcissistic personality disorder from which Herba was said to suffer.

"I never hurt the girl".

Italian police said the brothers are members of a group calling itself Black Death, which is active on the dark web and claims to sell women as sex slaves to buyers in the Middle East.

Prosecutor Paolo Storari said that Ayling´s version of events was "more than founded by the evidence provided", including a message from Lucasz to Michal in which he told his brother to "clean the boot of the vehicle so that her hair would not be found".

"I was in love and I was hoping that once her fame took off that she would repay me with feelings and we would share the money", he said. In his initial statement to police, he said he let her go out of sympathy for her role as a mother. They said Herba had not been seen for around three weeks before the kidnapping in July 2017.

Chloe, of Coulsdon, south London, told prosecutors she did not try to escape from the farmhouse because she believed Herba's story that he was working for a criminal gang who were constantly watching.

He eventually alleged that Ayling had gone with him willingly - a claim Ayling strenuously denied - and that she was complicit in the plan all along.

Herba's brother, who also denies being involved, is in the process of being extradited to the United Kingdom on kidnapping charges.

During closing arguments, his lawyer, Katia Kolakowska, cited an email she received from a USA film producer, who pointed out that Ms Ayling's story closely matches the plot of a movie entitled By Any Means, which was released about eight weeks before the 2017 kidnapping.

The kidnappers told Ayling she would be auctioned online since she wasn't able to come up with the $353,000 ransom they demanded, she told investigators.

In his closing arguments, Storari noted that Herba had invested at least 10,000 euros (A$15,503) in the kidnapping, taking into account real estate rentals and travel. According to the Sun, Herba was also ordered to pay £60,000 damages to Chloe for what happened.

Her lawyer, Pesce, dismissed the attempt to discredit his client, saying "there have been films made about every crime in the world".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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