British model ‘kidnapped to be sold on dark web’ feared she’d be murdered
A British model who was allegedly kidnapped in Milan and detained for six days while her captor tried to auction her online has reportedly returned to the UK.
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 in Italy.
She is believed to have been drugged and transported in a bag to Borgial, an isolated village near Turin, before being released on July 17, Italian police said.
It has been reported that she was set free when the kidnapping gang, known as Black Death, found out she was a mother of a two-year-old boy.
Ms Ayling has now flown back to the UK and returned to her home in Coulsdon, south London, according to reports.
Speaking on her doorstep she told how she had feared for her life. "I've been through a terrifying experience. I've feared for my life, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour," she said.
"I'm incredibly grateful to the Italian and UK authorities for all they have done to secure my safe release. I have just arrived home after four weeks and haven't had time to collect my thoughts. I am not at liberty to say anything further until I have been debriefed by the UK police."
She said that during her ordeal, a person wearing black gloves came from behind "and put one hand on my neck and one on my mouth to stop me from screaming".
"A second person wearing a black balaclava gave me an injection in my right forearm. I think I lost consciousness. When I woke up I was wearing a pink bodysuit and the socks I am wearing now," she continued.
"I realised I was in the boot of a car with my wrists and ankles handcuffed, adhesive tape on my mouth. I was inside a bag and was only able to breathe through a small hole."
A Polish man, who lives in Britain, was arrested on July 18 on suspicion of kidnap and extortion, state police said. Officials have released a mugshot of the suspect, named as 30-year-old Lukasz Pawel Herba.
It is alleged two men tried to sell Ms Ayling online for more than $300,000 (£230,000) and demanded the model's agent pay to secure her safe 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.
It has been reported the captor demanded £50,000 upon her release and threatened to kill her if she told police about the incident.
Milan police officer 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, he 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. A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said an address in Sampson Close, Oldbury, was raided on July 18 in connection with the investigation.