Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Man gets over 16 years in prison for kidnapping United Kingdom model

Man gets over 16 years in prison for kidnapping United Kingdom model

Polish national Lukasz Herba, 30, was sentenced on Monday to 16 years and nine months' imprisonment after an Italian court convicted him of kidnapping Chloe Ayling, 20.

Ayling was held captive in the farmhouse for six days until Herba brought her to the British consulate in Milan.

Herba said he had been in love with Ayling, and they had concocted the kidnap plot with her cooperation.

At the start of the trial in February, a police officer told the court that Ms Ayling had been drugged, handcuffed and transported in a suitcase.

Lawyers acting for Herba had suggested the kidnap was a stunt dreamed up to boost Ms Ayling's career.

"I am very happy with the outcome, I want to thank the Court and all those who believed in what I said, from the staff to the police investigators up to the prosecutor".

He said: "I never hurt the girl".

She told cops she feared for her life during the ordeal.

In court he said he had invented a group he presented as being behind deep-web auctions of women on encrypted sites.

She said she would appeal against the sentence.

When no money came through, he released her, hoping he would show some kind of fake "mercy" which would build her feelings for him.

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"And it means now she can get on with her life".

During the hearing the accused said he had elaborated the scheme with the young mother because he was in love with her.

Ayling said she never tried to escape - not even when Herba took her into a store to buy shoes - because she was terrified, believing his assertion that he was part of a bigger Romanian criminal gang that had eyes on her constantly.

She said she had been told that she would be auctioned off online since she was not able to come up with 300,000 euros ($355,000) that the criminal "Black Death" group was seeking.

"Chloe was treated like something used to satisfy his evil narcissistic needs", prosecutor Paolo Storari said in court.

His brother, Michal Herba, was arrested in the Tividale area of Sandwell, West Midlands, in August and was ordered to be extradited to face trial in Italy.

The prosecutor also cited Herba's purchase of two ski masks - Ayling said her kidnappers were wearing them when they freed her from the canvas bag - and the exchange of notes with his brother about cleaning the auto trunk well to make sure there were no traces of her hair.

During closing arguments, his lawyer, Katia Kolakowska, cited an email she received from a United States film producer, who pointed out that Ms Ayling's story closely matches the plot of a movie entitled By Any Means, which was released about eight weeks before the 2017 kidnapping.

In August 2017 model Chloe Ayling went to what she believed was a photo shoot in Milan and instead was kidnapped and nearly sold into the sex slavery.

Ayling's agent Adrian Sington said the ruling was vindication for his client.

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