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Kidnapping of model Chloe Ayling masterminded by Polish brothers, court told

Lukasz Herba, 30, and his 36-year-old brother Michal Herba, are alleged to have been part of a group calling itself Black Death.

Two Polish brothers worked together to mastermind the plot to kidnap British model Chloe Ayling, a court has heard.

Lukasz Herba, 30, and his 36-year-old brother Michal Herba, are alleged to have been part of a group calling itself Black Death, which is active on the dark web.

Ms Ayling, 20, is believed to have been snatched by the gang after being lured to a fake modelling shoot in Italy last month.

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Chloe Ayling (AP)

Lukasz Herba is currently in custody in Italy, having been arrested after delivering Ms Ayling to the British embassy on July 17 – six days after she was allegedly kidnapped. He has said he did not knowingly take part in any crime.

On Wednesday, the National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested Michal Herba in the Tividale area of Sandwell in the West Midlands.

Michal Herba was apprehended on a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Italian authorities. Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard on Thursday that he would contest extradition.

Ms Ayling, 20, was allegedly drugged and bundled into the boot of a car after being tricked into attending the bogus photoshoot in Milan on July 11.

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(PA Graphic)

The Italian police claim the two brothers are part of Black Death. Black Death say they sell women as sex slaves online to buyers in the Middle East.

Ms Ayling, of Coulsdon, south London, says she was injected with the horse tranquilliser ketamine, handcuffed and gagged before being stuffed in a suitcase by her kidnappers.

She says she was then driven 120 miles to an isolated farmhouse in the village of Borgial in the commune of Lemie outside of Turin.

In a series of television appearances, she described being forced to lie on the floor with her hands and feet handcuffed to the legs of a chest of draws.

But she was freed after six days and driven to the British consulate in Milan on July by Lukasz Herba, where he was arrested.

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Lukasz Pawel Herba (Polizia di Stato/PA)

Doubts have been cast on her account after it emerged she went shopping with one of her captors and made no attempt to escape.

She insists that she was in fear for her life.

The NCA has said it and the East Midlands Special Operations Unit are providing specialist support to the Italian police during the investigation.

At Michal Herba’s extradition hearing on Thursday, Prosecutor Florence Iveson told the court: “It is said that Mr Herba, acting in joint enterprise with his brother Lukasz Herba between July 11 and 17, acted to kidnap and abduct and unlawfully detain Chloe Ayling.

“It is said the victim was drugged, taken from Milan to Lemie and kept from 11 to 17 July and a ransom of 300,000 euros was demanded.”

Michal Herba, who was helped by an interpreter, spoke only to give his address and date of birth and to state that he contested his extradition.

Katherine Newey, for the defendant, made no application for bail.

“The offence took place relatively recently, no evidence has been served in this case, Mr Herba denies involvement,” she said.

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