The man accused of kidnapping British glamour model Chloe Ayling and detaining her in a rural Italian village has been sentenced to almost 17 years in jail over the baffling crime.
Lukasz Herba, 30, was sentenced by an Italian court after luring the 20-year-old to a fake photoshoot in Milan, drugging her with ketamine, placing her in a suitcase, and driving her to a farmhouse in Piedmont.
Ayling was held captive for six days in 2017, before Herba released her to the British consulate in Milan.
The kidnapping received international attention, which was only compounded by allegations that Ayling was privy to the plot in an attempt to build publicity for her career.
But the court heard that Ayling had no part in the scheme. Prosecutor Paolo Storari said Herba was motivated by “evil narcissistic needs” to execute the entire ordeal.
Prosecutors said Herba had met Ayling in England at least once before and was “obsessed” with her, and pretended to be from a criminal group called Black Death as part of a convoluted scheme to win her affections.
He told Ayling Black Death was preparing to auction her as a sex slave unless a 300,000 Euro ransom was met. When no money came through, he released her, hoping he would show some kind of fake ‘mercy’ which would build her feelings for him.
Herba’s shifting claims coloured the court case. He eventually alleged that Ayling had gone with him willingly – a claim Ayling strenuously denied – and that she was complicit in the plan all along.
“I was in love,” Herba said, “and I was hoping that once her fame took off that she would repay me with feelings and we would share the money.”
Ayling’s agent Adrian Sington said the ruling was vindication for his client.
“It’s hard if you’re being painted in the press as a liar and now she’s able to say, ‘I know it’s a bizarre story but it’s a true one’,” Sington told the BBC.
The Italian court is also seeking extradition for Herba’s brother Michal over the kidnapping. He denies any involvement.
Lukasz Herba’s lawyer intends to appeal the sentence.