A British model who says she was kidnapped in Italy and told she would be sold into sex slavery claims she tried to make her captor “fall in love” in order to be released.
Chloe Ayling was reportedly held prisoner for six days last year after being lured to Milan for a bogus photo shoot, getting drugged, stuffed into a canvas bag and transported to a farmhouse in Piedmont.
Lukasz Herba, who was jailed for 16 years last week for the 20-year-old’s kidnap, is said to have told her he was a member of a criminal organisation that would auction her on the dark web.
Speaking on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show on Monday, Ms Ayling said Herba began to develop feelings for her during the ordeal, which she used to convince him to release her to the British consulate in Milan.
The model hit back at suggestions her account of events had been called into question by eyewitness reports she and her captor were seen holding hands in a shoe shop on the day she was freed.
“It is a weird thing, but just think about it, why would you be offish with the person that is starting to have feelings for you and is relying on that to release you?” she said.
“Obviously I had to try and do everything I could to make him fall in love with me in a way.”
Herba, 30, claimed during his court case the model had colluded with him to stage the plot in an attempt to boost her notoriety and kick-start her career.
The trial heard the pair had been friends on Facebook for two years and Ms Ayling, of south London, had met the Polish national at least once in person prior to the kidnapping.
Ms Ayling said she was told she would be sold on the dark web to the highest bidder unless she or a family member could pay a ransom of more than £250,000.
Herba had initially said in a police interview he released the mother-of-one because he felt sympathy for her child.
However, he later recanted his story, saying the kidnap and the “Black Death” criminal syndicate he reportedly told her he represented were a fabrication, all agreed to by Ms Ayling.
The model described Herba as a “psychopath” and said she had only discovered the gang did not exist upon her release.
Ms Ayling accused people who did not believe her story of “ignorance”, hitting out at those in the media who had disputed the kidnapping was real.
“It’s just ignorance really, it’s such a complex case, to the point that I don’t fully understand his motivation behind it,” she added.
“People are questioning me for his actions and this is a complete psychopath, crazy person, so it just doesn’t make sense that people are believing the media over the court.”