Model tells of terror during abduction after being 'lured to fake photo shoot'
Model Chloe Ayling has spoken out about how she was allegedly lured to Italy for a fake photo shoot and then drugged, kidnapped and held hostage for almost a week.
In the first media interview she's given since the ordeal, the 20-year-old Briton recounts a dramatic story of arriving at what she had been told was the studio to find herself being grabbed from behind by a man who injected her with ketamine.
Her account in the 'Mail on Sunday' details how a man alleged to be Polish national Lukasz Pawel Herba, posing as a fashion photographer, lured her to Milan and then held her captive in a remote shack - where she said she was "handcuffed to the chest of drawers" - in order to sell her as a slave in an internet auction.
"He had sent me an email via my agent Phil Green giving me the address for the studio. He said the door would be open and I should let myself in. I walked through the open door and put my luggage down," said Ms Ayling (inset). "I was expecting to hear people setting up the shoot, but there was silence. It was a bit creepy, but then I saw a door with a sign on it which said 'Studio'. As I reached for the handle, I felt an arm come around my neck from behind me. I tried to scream but a gloved hand was covering my mouth and my nose.
"I panicked because I couldn't breathe and I brought my hands up to my face. I was trying to get his fingers off my nose."
She described how another man wearing a black ski mask and holding a syringe in his right hand then stepped in front of her, "yanked" her jacket off and grabbed her arm. "This was my worst nightmare. I didn't know what was in the syringe. I was panicking. I thought they were going to rob or rape me. I was terrified beyond words," she said. "They dragged me to the floor. I just gave up - I thought, 'I'm not going to get out of here alive'. I felt trapped, then everything went black."
Ms Ayling said the next thing she remembers was waking up in a bag in the boot of a moving car "feeling terrible", with her hands and feet handcuffed and tape over her mouth. Recalling the traumatic journey, during which they stopped more than once to tighten her handcuffs, she said: "I thought they were going to kill me and dump me in the suitcase. I thought, 'I am never going to see my mum or my son Ashton again'."
On arriving at a house the model described as "dark and cold", she said she was led up "concrete stairs into a small room" where she was chained to a chest of drawers.
In the hours that followed, she said her captors discovered they had made a "mistake" because they claimed "they don't kidnap mothers". She was later freed.
Doubts have been raised about Ms Ayling's allegations after CCTV images emerged of her shopping for shoes with Mr Herba, but she repudiates them saying her captor was "terrifying" and she did as he asked because she didn't want to put herself in danger by angering him.
After a three-week investigation, police in Italy charged Mr Herba with kidnapping and extortion last Saturday, and Ms Ayling was allowed to return home to the UK. (© Independent News Service)
Independent News Service