Man sentenced for kidnapping model, trying to sell her online

Italian court convicts man over kidnap of model

Lukasz Herba, 30, from Tividale, was jailed for almost 17 years after being convicted of kidnapping the model by an Italian court.

She was taken to a remote mountain village where she was kept for nearly a week before Polish national Lukasz Herba drove her back to Milan and released her near the British consulate.

Herba claimed it was a scheme which Ms Ayling had agreed to as part of a plan to boost her career, and he invented an online group behind dark web auctions of women.

The trial of a Polish man charged with the kidnapping of a British model for ransom is reaching its close. A verdict could come later in the day.

Chloe Ayling, 20, told Italian police she had been lured to a photo shoot in Italy's fashion capital last summer, abducted and held captive for six days.

But Herba claimed Ayling was in cahoots with him from the get-go, staging her abduction with him in a desperate bid for money and fame.

In a declaration that defendants are allowed to have in an Italian court, Herba said he was in love with Ayling, and they had concocted the kidnap plot to help her overcome financial difficulties after the birth of her son.

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

The lawyer for British model Chloe Ayling, Francesco Pesce, called it "quite an important verdict".

Investigators, who described Herba as a "mythomaniac adventurer", said that he had tried to extort money from Ayling, asking her manager and family for 300,000 euros ($354,000) before eventually releasing her.

She is reported to have said in her police statement to Milan police: 'The man who was with me at the consulate - after my kidnapping at the studio and after two men took me to an apartment by auto - was the only one who held me prisoner for entire duration of my kidnapping, who watched over me, stopped me from going out or escaping, threatening me that they would kill me if I did so. It's hard if you're being painted in the press as a liar and now she's able to be able to say, "I know it's a freaky story but it's a true one".

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

Italian prosecutors are seeking the brother's extradition from Britain.

The prosecutor also cited Herba's purchase of two ski masks, which Chloe said she saw kidnappers wearing when she was freed from the canvas bag, and a note to his brother telling him to clean the trunk of the auto well to make sure that there were no traces of her hair.

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

Her lawyer dismissed the attempt to discredit his client, saying "there have been films made about every crime in the world".

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