Weird Saga of British Model's Kidnapping Reaches Its End

Lucasz Herba is found guilty
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2018 10:30 AM CDT
He Kidnapped British Model, Gets 16-Year Sentence
In this Feb. 19, 2018, file photo, video evidence of British model Chloe Ayling is played in court during a trial last summer in a Milan courtroom.   (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, file)

(Newser) – A British model described a terrifying kidnap ordeal; the man arrested in the case claimed she was in on it. Now, a conclusion: An Italian court on Monday found Lucasz Herba guilty of kidnapping Chloe Ayling last July and sentenced him to 16 years and nine months. Ayling, then 20, said she was attacked by two men after flying to Milan and going to an apartment for a photo shoot. The BBC reports she was reportedly injected with the tranquilizer ketamine. "When I woke up I was wearing a pink bodysuit and the socks I'm in now," she said in a statement to police published in Italian media. "I realized I was in the [trunk] of a car, with my wrists and ankles tied and my mouth taped. I was inside a bag, with only a small hole that allowed me to breathe."

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She was held in an Italian farmhouse for six days and was ultimately released by her kidnappers at the British Consulate; they had allegedly variously told her they wanted ransom money and planned to sell her on the dark web. Herba, 30, argued that he was in love with Ayling, whom he had met on Facebook, and wanted to boost her career by getting her publicity via the kidnapping—an idea inspired by the film By Any Means. Prosecutors called him a "narcissist and a fantasist who was obsessed with Miss Ayling," and the court determined Ayling wasn't involved in the plot. "This is vindication—her story is true," her agent tells the Guardian, which reports prosecutors are trying to extradite Herba's brother from Britain in connection with the case. The Sun reports Herba plans to appeal.

(Read more Chloe Ayling stories.)

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