Foreign Office debriefing for model after Italy ‘kidnap’ ordeal
The 20-year-old woman, named in reports as Chloe Ayling, was attacked on July 11 by two men as she attended an arranged photo shoot.
A British model who was allegedly kidnapped in Milan was forced by Italian police to stay in the country for weeks after her release, her agent has said.
Chloe Ayling was snatched on July 11 by a group calling itself Black Death while she was attending a photo shoot at a “recognised studio” in the city centre, according to Phil Green.
The 20-year-old model is believed to have been drugged and transported in a bag to Borgial, an isolated village near Turin, and held for six days as her captors tried to auction her online, Italian police said.
On Monday, Mr Green, of Supermodels Agency, said she was taken to the British Consulate in Milan after the “horrific ordeal”, but could not return home to London for almost three weeks.
“Chloe had her passport detained by Italian police who would not let her return to the UK until she gave evidence at a pre-trial hearing on August 4,” he said in a statement.
He added she was able to fly back to the UK on Sunday after attending the crime scene with police and her lawyer the day before.
“Today she is debriefing Met Police and the Foreign Office, and has requested to spend the rest of the day in privacy with her mother,” he added.
There was no sign of Ms Ayling at her terraced home in Coulsdon, south London, on Monday.
According to reports, she 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.”
A Polish man who lives in Britain was arrested on July 18 on suspicion of kidnap and extortion, state police said.
Officials released a mugshot of the suspect, named as 30-year-old Lukasz Pawel Herba.
The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said it has been assisting with the investigation.
A spokesman said: “The NCA and the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (Emsou) have been working closely with the Italian authorities since the kidnap was reported.
“NCA officers in Italy and specialists from our anti-kidnap and extortion unit are also providing support to the Polizia di Stato as part of the ongoing investigation.
“A house in the Oldbury area linked to Lukasz Pawel Herba was searched on July 18 by Emsou officers with assistance from West Midlands Police.
“Computer equipment seized is being forensically examined.”
It is alleged the men tried to sell Ms Ayling online for more than 300,000 dollars (£230,000) and demanded the model’s agent pay to secure her release.
She was kept handcuffed to furniture but was freed after six days and taken to the British Consulate in Milan, despite the ransom not being paid, police said.
It has been reported the captor demanded £50,000 on her release and threatened to kill her if she told police about the incident.
Milan police spokesman Lorenzo Bucossi told reporters the group the suspect was allegedly working for offered “mercenary services” on the dark web.
According to a translation on Sky News, Mr Bucossi said: “Certainly the author of this very serious crime is a dangerous person, don’t forget he was also ready to carry out a ‘final solution’, as he called it.
“He was a killer and was working for an organisation on the deep web that is offering mercenary services such as bombing attacks, kidnapping and the selling of girls on the dark web.”
Italian police said they are working with officials in Britain and Poland as they continue to investigate.