Pole jailed for kidnapping British model Chloe Ayling in Italy

Elias Hubbard
June 13, 2018

Polish national Lukasz Herba, 30, was sentenced on Monday to 16 years and nine months' imprisonment after an Italian court convicted him of kidnapping Chloe Ayling, 20.

Ms Ayling said she feared for her life during her six-day ordeal and that she was told she would be killed if she did not co-operate. She said Herba showed her photos of other girls who were reportedly being sold over the deep web.

After her release Ms Ayling said she was taken after turning up at a property in Milan for a modelling job. Herba said he was in love with her and they came up with this abduction scheme together to help with her financial difficulties.

"Chloe was treated like something used to satisfy his evil narcissistic needs", prosecutor Paolo Storari said in court.

Besides the prison sentence, the court also ordered Herba to pay an initial 60,000 euros in damages to Ayling.

He also said Ayling was considering possible civil action in British courts against media that accused her of lying about being a victim to become famous.

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 initial statement to police, he said he did so out of sympathy for the fact she was a mother.

She is reported to have said in her police statement to Milan police: 'The man who was with me at the consulate - after my kidnapping at the studio and after two men took me to an apartment by vehicle - was the only one who held me prisoner for entire duration of my kidnapping, who watched over me, stopped me from going out or escaping, threatening me that they would kill me if I did so.

Polish man gets 16 years for kidnapping British model Chloe Ayling
Chloe Ayling kidnapper found guilty and sentenced to 16 years in jail

Herba claimed it was a scheme which Ms Ayling had agreed to as part of a plan to boost her career, and he invented an online group behind dark web auctions of women.

"It means now she can get on with her life - she's able to say, "I know it's a weird story but it's a true one".

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. "If she felt forced verbally in any way, I am very sorry".

When no money came through, he released her, hoping he would show some kind of fake "mercy" which would build her feelings for him.

Italian prosecutors are seeking the brother's extradition from the UK.

During closing arguments, his lawyer, Katia Kolakowska, cited an email she received from a U.S. 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.

Storari, in his closing arguments, noted that Herba had invested at least 10,000 euros (nearly $11,800) in the kidnapping, taking into account real estate rentals and travel. He said it was unrealistic that Herba would have done so only to get ransom from a young woman without any means.

Ayling's agent Adrian Sington said the ruling was vindication for his client.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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