BRITISH model Chloe Ayling’s lawyer has today rejected claims she lied about being kidnapped and says it is “evil” to suggest she was involved.
Italian police said Chloe Ayling was snatched last month by a group calling itself Black Death and is believed to have been drugged and transported in a bag to an isolated village near Turin, where she was held for six days as her captors tried to auction her online.
The 20-year-old was told people were watching her and she would be killed if she tried to flee, meaning she complied with what her captor asked her to do, her lawyer Francesco Pesce said.
He told Radio 4’s Today programme: “She was told that she was going to be sold to somebody in the Middle East for sex.
“She was told that people were there watching her and ready to kill her if she tried anything.
“So she thought that the best idea was to go along with it and to be nice in a way to her captor because he told her that he wanted to release her somehow and sometime and she thought that the best thing to do was not to go in conflict with him.
“So she abided to his request, ‘let’s go and buy groceries’ and ‘you need shoes, let’s go buy shoes’ and she didn’t try to flee.
“But I believe she was terrified at the moment and even if she could’ve asked for help she didn’t because she was subjugated to this person, or people as she was given to understand.”
She has told police how, on her first night in the mountain hideout, abductor Lukasz Herba handcuffed her to a chest of drawers.
But for her remaining nights in captivity near the French border, he slept beside her in a double bed.
A report by Italian authorities revealed sperm was found in the bed she shared with her abductor.
Chloe denied having sex with him, telling prosecutors he must have performed a solo sex act in the bed.
And Italian cops say the pair also went shoe shopping the day before she was released.
Chloe told officers 30-year-old Herba — who claimed to be part of a shadowy group of internet sex traffickers called Black Death — gave her gifts of underwear and chocolate each morning.
Chloe, from Coulsdon, South London, gave her account in statements made to cops and seen by The Sun.
She said: “From the second night he took the cuffs from my feet, assuring me that sooner or later I’d be freed so I had no need to escape.
“From that moment I always slept in his room, sharing the bed. To be clear, he didn’t molest me sexually or ask for sexual favours.”
Police revealed that Chloe, 20, went shopping for shoes with Herba, 30, in Milan after he agreed to set her free because she is a mum, La Repubblica reported.
When questioned by police about the shopping trip, Chloe is said to have burst into tears.
“Is it not strange that you went to buy shoes with your abductor?” one detective asked her.
She claimed she went shopping after Herba had promised to set her free.
Mum-of-one Chloe said Herba claimed Black Death had a strict code not to touch kidnapped girls.
But she said she was so scared of being poisoned she drank only from sealed bottles and refused proper meals before developing a “trusting relationship” with her captor.
The glamour model had flown to Milan on July 10 after being paid around £600 to join the photoshoot.
There, two masked men pounced on her at a studio and injected her with drugs before driving her into the hills cuffed inside a zipped bag.
But questions are being raised over apparent inconsistencies in the story.
The Mail Online reports Deputy prosecutor Paolo Storati described Herba as “a person affected by mythomania” – an abnormal or pathological tendency to exaggerate or tell lies.
Last night it also emerged the alleged kidnapper also tried to sell a story to a British newspaper while holding Chloe captive.
Herba is said to have emailed the Daily Mirror two days into the abduction – under the heading “British model kidnapped by Russian mafia”.
The model said she knew nothing about the Herba trying to contact the media when quizzed by by police, according to the Daily Telegraph.
There are also claims “many details” in the official account of the kidnap do not add up.
An Italian police source told the Mail Online: “During the first two days of questioning, neither Miss Ayling or Herba co-operated with the police.
“The pair may have been seen together on other occasions. We also cannot find any trace of the agency that allegedly lured her to the country for the photoshoot.”
Chloe said she tried in vain to escape and feared for her life when she saw a second empty suitcase in the car boot, believing it would be used to dispose of her dead body.
Instead she was held until July 17, when Polish-born Herba, living in Oldbury, West Mids, gave her new trainers and drove her to the British consulate — only to find it closed.
Bizarrely the two went for breakfast before returning to the consulate.
Herba stipulated she must not make a criminal complaint and must promote Black Death in interviews. If not, he said, they would find her and kill her.
Chloe said: “Even now I fear for my life.”
Today her lawyer Francesco Pesce told Radio 4’s Today programme: “She was told that she was going to be sold to somebody in the Middle East for sex.
“She was told that people were there watching her and ready to kill her if she tried anything.”
Referring to her shopping trips with Herba he added: “So she thought that the best idea was to go along with it and to be nice in a way to her captor because he told her that he wanted to release her somehow and sometime and she thought that the best thing to do was not to go in conflict with him.
“So she abided to his request, ‘let’s go and buy groceries’ and ‘you need shoes, let’s go buy shoes’ and she didn’t try to flee.”
A friend of Chloe told The Victoria Derbyshire show that the model was “naive” and “young”.
Speaking today she said: “She’s always wanted to be a glamour model since 15.
“If you are under that circumstance where someone is threatening your life you are going to do whatever you are going to do to keep yourself safe
“I wouldn’t say she’s the wisest of girls she can be a bit naive she’s young.”
The model was so scared she told consulate staff that Herba, who accompanied her into the building, was a man she had stopped in the street so she could use his phone.
Only later did she reveal he was her kidnapper.
Herba faced court in Milan last week and police are hunting at least one more suspect.
Herba’s lawyer Cosmo De Rose said his client admitted keeping her captive but claimed he was “following orders” from Black Death bosses.
“Just because your bosses tell you to do something illegal doesn’t mean you have to do it. You should say no.
“I can’t defend the indefensible.”
It’s believed the legal team are considering asking a judge for a short trial in which Chloe does not have to testify.
In return Herba would have a third cut off his sentence.
Chloe was yesterday at her family home.
A spokesman said she had suffered a “horrific ordeal”.
They added: “She is debriefing Met Police and the Foreign Office.”
Last night, as the Met confirmed they had been looking into the incident, Snapchat pictures emerged of Herba grinning and holding a beer.
A former pal said: “I can’t believe it. You’d never have described him as sinister.
“He was obviously a Jekyll and Hyde character living a lie.”