Kidnapper's conviction seen as vindication for UK model

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 13, 2018

Ayling was held captive in the farmhouse for six days until Herba brought her to the British consulate in Milan. After being lured to Milan, Ayling was knocked out with a drug, zipped inside a canvas bag and transported to a farmhouse, where she was handcuffed to the furniture for at least the first night, he said.

He said she had suffered mental and physical abuse during the six-day ordeal last July.

Besides the prison sentence of 16 years and nine months, the court also ordered Herba to pay an initial 60,000 euros in damages to Ayling, who was a civil plaintiff in the trial.

He said he was paid £500,000, found out the Romanians meant to kidnap her, and backed out of the plan.

Adrian Sington, who represents Chloe, said: "This has been an incredible burden on her shoulders for the a year ago in the face of media criticism of her motivation and this is vindication - her story is true".

"And it means now she can get on with her life", Sington said.

During the hearing the accused said he had elaborated the scheme with the young mother because he was in love with her. "If she felt forced verbally in any way, I am very sorry".

Herba told the court: "I was in love and I was hoping once her fame took off she would repay me with feelings and we would share the money".

Polish man gets 16 years for kidnapping British model Chloe Ayling
Chloe Ayling kidnapper found guilty and sentenced to 16 years in jail

But in his shifting storyline, Herba also testified previously that he had concocted the alleged criminal group and that his brother was helping him in the scheme, agreed to by Ms Ayling.

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 guilty man's brother, Michal Herba, 37, was arrested in Sandwell last August and is due to be extradited to face trial in Italy.

Italian law foresees a sentence of 25 to 30 years for kidnapping and extortion, but prosecutors asked the court in Milan to make allowance for the short duration of the abduction and a narcissistic personality disorder from which Herba was said to have.

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.

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

In London, Ayling's current agent Adrian Sington said the verdict was "vindication - her story is true".

Ms Ayling told investigators that she did not try to escape, even when she accompanied Herba into a shop to buy shoes, because she was terrified, believing his threats that he was part of a bigger criminal gang that had eyes on her constantly. "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 freaky story, but it's a true one".

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