Tuesday, 02 June, 2020

Italian court convicts Polish man for kidnap of British model Chloe Ayling

Italian court convicts Polish man for kidnap of British model Chloe Ayling Italian court convicts Polish man for kidnap of British model Chloe Ayling
Deanna Wagner | 12 June, 2018, 07:43

An Italian court has ordered a Polish man to spend the next 16 years behind bars for kidnapping an English model and demanding an nearly half a million dollar ransom for her return.

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.

A British model feels "vindicated" after the man she accused of kidnapping her for ransom was convicted and jailed for almost 17 years, her agent has said. A verdict could come later in the day.

Defendant Lukasz Herba denies guilt and claims that Ayling agreed to the scheme to boost her career.

Herba, from Poland, had claimed the 20-year-old glamour model agreed to be kidnapped as part of a publicity stunt to boost her career. She said Herba showed her photos of other girls who were reportedly being sold over the deep web.

Adrian Sington, who represents Ms Ayling at talent management agency Kruger Cowne, said: "This has been an incredible burden on her shoulders for the previous year in the face of media criticism of her motivation, and this is vindication - her story is true".

During her captivity Miss Ayling, a mother-of-one, from Coulsdon, south London, was said to have endured "physical and psychological violence" - but also went shopping for clothes.

"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", Sington told the BBC.

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She told cops she feared for her life during the ordeal.

Herba remained emotionless as the guilty verdict was read out and said nothing as he was led away by two prison guards.

But the case was taken very seriously by police and courts in Italy, so seriously that Herba was today starting a jail sentence of 16 years and nine months.

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 auto so that her hair would not be found".

Ms Ayling told investigators that she did not try to escape, even when she accompanied Herba into a shop to buy shoes, because she was terrified, believing his threats that he was part of a bigger criminal gang that had eyes on her constantly.

"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 it was unrealistic that Herba would have done so only to get ransom money through a young woman without any means.

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

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