A Polish man charged with kidnapping a British model for ransom testified Wednesday that she agreed to the scheme in a bid to boost her career, denying his previous statements to investigators that he was trying to make money so he could seek treatment for leukemia. Lukasz Herba, testifying in his own defense, said that 20-year-old Chloe Ayling didn't know that the kidnapping plot was afoot when she came to Milan for a modeling job last July. But the defendant said that he revealed it to her when she arrived at the mock photographic studio, and that she agreed, the AP reports. "She knew that when the scandal finished, she would earn lots of money," he said through an interpreter. In previous hearings, investigators showed video of Ayling and Herba walking hand in hand. Her lawyer said she was forced, and Ayling in interviews after her ordeal insisted that she was "terrified" and certain she would die during the ordeal.
Prosecutors allege Herba drugged the aspiring model and transported her in a canvas bag to a farmhouse where she was held for six days last July, at times handcuffed by her hands and feet. He was arrested after releasing her at the British Consulate, in what he at the time told investigators was a change of heart. Herba, 30, told the court that he met Ayling over Facebook in 2015. Under questioning by his lawyer, he said they went out once together in England while she was visibly pregnant. He told the court that that is when the kidnap idea was first hatched, but that she backed down after entering into a relationship. He said that he contacted her again after seeing on Facebook that the relationship had ended, and then arranged through her agent for her to go to Paris for a modelling job in April 2017. He said he revealed the kidnapping plot to her at that juncture, but she refused because she didn't like the venue where she would be staying.