Kidnapped British Model Returns To UK After Being Lured For A Fake Photoshoot
The “Dark Web” just got darker and uglier when a 30-year-old man tried to sell a 20-year-old woman kidnapped by him in Italy to the highest bidder in an online auction.
The accused Lukasz Pawel Herba, a Polish citizen, who lives in the UK, has been arrested by the Italian police. On the other hand, Chloe Ayling, a 20-year-old British model, as named in the Telegraph, who was held captive by the kidnapper for six days has been freed and returned to the UK.
Speaking from her family home in south London, the model said: “I’ve been through a terrifying experience. I feared for my life, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour.”
“I am incredibly grateful to the Italian and UK authorities for all they have done to secure my safe release.”
The ordeal for Chloe began when she arrived in Milan on July 11 for a fake photo shoot that was requested through her agent, police said. She was then sent to a Milan apartment. However, on arrival, two kidnappers drugged, handcuffed, gagged and put her in a bag in the boot of a car and drove to an abandoned shop south of Milan, before she was then taken on to a farmhouse near Turin 120 miles away where she was kept for six days..
“A person wearing black gloves came from behind and put one hand on my neck and one on my mouth to stop me from screaming,” Chloe said in a statement to the police.
“A second person wearing a black balaclava gave me an injection in my right forearm. I think I lost consciousness. When I woke up I was wearing a pink bodysuit and the socks I am wearing now.
“I realised I was in the boot of a car with my wrists and ankles handcuffed, adhesive tape on my mouth. I was inside a bag and was only able to breathe through a small hole.”
They forced her to lie on the floor next to a chest of drawers and handcuffed her hands and feet to the legs, leaving her “totally immobilised”
“They watched me, they stopped me from fleeing and they threatened to kill me if I did,” she said as she disclosed that there were four men involved all of whom referred to each other by initials.
“I didn’t want to eat until July 14 as I was so stressed,” she said. “I didn’t trust what I was being offered.”
In order to auction her off on the dark web, the kidnappers took compromising photographs of her while she was unconscious.
Herba threatened to sell Chloe on the ‘deep web’ if her agent failed to pay a ransom of £270,000. Simultaneously, he published an advertisement on an unknown darknet to sell her through an online organization, known as ‘Black Death’.
Chloe said that Herba told her three women a week were auctioned and he had earned £11.5million in the past five years from the sales, with most meant for Arab countries.
He told her: “When the buyer gets tired of the girl he can give them to others or if she’s not longer of interest she’s ‘tiger meat’.”
She told police she had met Herba a few months earlier on a shoot that was called off in Paris.
Authorities said the kidnappers were going to release her “because she had a 2-year-old child” and their “rules exclude kidnapping mothers”.
“You are being released with a warning. You are certainly aware of your value on human slavery market. A mistake was made by capturing you,” stated a document seen by the Telegraph.
Even when Herba freed Chloe, he demanded £50,000 to be paid in Bitcoin and told the model he would kill her if she reported her terrifying ordeal to police.
“You have agreed to pay outstanding costs of your release of $50,000. We expect that money to be paid in Bitcoin within one month. Any sort of disobedience will result in your elimination. You have been treated fairly with respect, and we expect to hear the same about us in return.”
As for Herba, he was arrested on July 17 while releasing the woman outside the British consulate in Milan. He has confessed to the kidnapping which investigators described as an elaborate plot that involved months of planning.
Francesco Pesce, the model’s lawyer, said his client had been very brave as she was able to return to the fake studio in Milan and the house where she had been held hostage.
“She shed a tear, she was so brave,” Pesce told The Telegraph. “She is such a young girl to have been subjected to such an ordeal, she must have suffered so much.
“It must have been terrifying to be alone in this house being locked up by strangers in the middle of nowhere. She was told she was going to be sold. It was scary.”
Police are now looking for accomplices after the model told them she was “attacked by two people” and have reconstructed her kidnap and the crime scene.
Officers are examining CCTV from around the city, including the route taken from the airport, and speaking to witnesses. Herba’s phone and computer were found to have photos of the model and material stating she was for sale, officers said. Also, strands of the young model’s hair along with Herba’s was found in the boot of the car, it has been reported.
Source: The Telegraph