A court in Milan has dismissed the claims that a British glamour model who was allegedly kidnapped and almost sold into sex slavery was actually in on the ordeal as some kind of publicity stunt.
Chloe Ayling, 20, was allegedly drugged and kidnapped in July this year, after being lured to Italy under the false pretence of a photoshoot.
She was allegedly taken by a gang calling themselves the Black Death, who were planning to sell her into sex slavery, but was released when they discovered she had a two-year-old child. She says she was released on the proviso that she pay a £264,000 ($AU 463,000) ransom on her return.
Lukasz Herba, a 30-year-old Polish national who arrested and charged with kidnapping and extortion, told the court earlier this year that the entire ordeal was fabricated for publicity.
But today, the court dismissed claims that Ayling conspired with Herba in some cooked attempt to raise her profile.
The judge also rejected an application by Herba’s lawyer to force Ayling to travel to Italy to be questioned in court.
Ayling is believed to have been drugged and transported in a bag to an isolated village near Turin, a city in northern Italy, where she was held for six days while her captors tried to auction her online.
“I woke up in the boot of a car in a zip up bag and tape on my mouth and handcuffs on my feet,” she told UK television show This Morning earlier this year.
“When they pulled over I saw through the gap that they’d put an empty suitcase above it and at that point I thought I was going to die because what other reason would they put an empty suitcase about my size in there.
“I was hoping for a non-painful death.”
The trial continues.