Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Model ‘vindicated’ after man convicted of kidnapping and drugging her

Model ‘vindicated’ after man convicted of kidnapping and drugging her

After Polish national Herba, of Sandwell, West Midlands, was jailed for 16 years and nine months in Milan yesterday, Chloe spoke of her relief.

According to prosecutors, Ms Ayling was lured to Milan with the promise of a modelling gig and then drugged when she showed up at a mocked-up photographic studio.

Prosecutors said Herba had met Ayling in England at least once before and was "obsessed" with her, and pretended to be from a criminal group called Black Death as part of a convoluted scheme to win her affections.

At the start of the trial in February, a police officer told the court that Ms Ayling had been drugged, handcuffed and transported in a suitcase. "I was not violent with her", Herba said.

He said: "I never hurt the girl".

When Ayling first reported what happened to her to the police she said that Herba was planning on selling her to be a sex slave if her agent didn't pay a ransom. In court testimony, Herba said he invented a group he presented as behind deep-web auctions of women.

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In a declaration that defendants are allowed to have in an Italian court, Herba said he had been in love with Ms Ayling, and they had concocted the kidnap plot to help her overcome financial difficulties after the birth of her son.

Lukasz Herba's lawyer intends to appeal the sentence.

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

During the hearing the accused said he had elaborated the scheme with the young mother because he was in love with her.

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.

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.

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

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.

During closing arguments, Herba's lawyer cited an email she received from a film producer, who pointed out that Ayling's story closely matched the plot of an American movie titled "By Any Means", released about eight weeks before the 2017 kidnapping.

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

"This has been an incredible burden on her shoulders for the a year ago in the face of media criticism of her motivation and this is vindication - her story is true", Ms Ayling's representative Adrian Sington said.

"It means now she can get on with her life". "It's hard if you're being painted in the press as a liar, and now she's able to say, 'I know it's a weird story, but it's a true one'".

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