British glamor model Chloe Ayling’s horrendous July kidnapping could have been a publicity stunt, according to one of the suspect’s lawyers.
The 20-year-old claims to have been held by the two suspects at a farmhouse in Turin, Italy after they lured her to Milan for a fake photoshoot.
The young model claims that her release came six days after she was kidnapped, once her captors became aware that she was a mother.
Ayling’s account of the ordeal placed 30-year-old Lukasz Herba and his 36-year-old brother Michal Herba under suspicion of kidnapping with the aim to extort £270,000 ($350,000) from the model’s agent.
The model, who said she was drugged throughout the experience, also revealed that she had been under the constant threat of being auctioned on the dark web.
Suspects Believed to Be Part of Syndicate Called “Black Death”
The young model’s July kidnapping received a surprising amount of media coverage, and it was not long before the two suspects were linked to an organized crime group known as the Black Death.
Speaking on the behest of his client, George Hepburne Scott relayed his convictions concerning the legitimacy of the case. Herba’s lawyer consistently pointed out the holes in the account issued by Ayling, noting that there were “several anomalies” which indicated that the kidnapping might as well have been a well-orchestrated publicity stunt.
One of the outstanding anomalies in the case was the model’s claim that one of the suspected kidnappers contacted a tabloid newspaper to inform them of their hostage’s upcoming auction.
According to Herba’s lawyer, the period before her release to the British consulate six days after she’d been drugged, stuffed in a suitcase and allegedly held against her will at a remote location did not ring true to a genuine hostage situation.
He went on to back his convictions by carefully laying out what he considered anomalous features that robbed the young model’s kidnapping ordeal of its authenticity.
Case Could be a Sham, Claims Defendant’s Lawyer
Open-source material placed Ayling at the center of another publicity stunt at the scene of a previous terrorist attack in Champs-Elysees in Paris, according to Scott. While this observation alone was not firm enough to tilt the scales in his client’s favor, it showed that the young model was no stranger to generating controversy.
Herba’s lawyer went on to highlight the strange incident when Ayling went shoe-shopping with one of her alleged captors.
Furthermore, on the day of her release, she and her kidnapper had apparently been seen having breakfast together after finding the British Embassy closed.
The anomalies observed by Scott, in his opinion, indicated that the legal process of the Italian authorities had been abused and that the ordeal may have been nothing more than a carefully planned publicity stunt.
Critics Not Convinced
Ayling came under an expected amount of criticism following her suspiciously unauthentic kidnapping ordeal. She recounted her horrific abduction when she appeared on Britain’s “This Morning” shortly after being released by her abductors.
The model spoke about her horrific experience at the hands of her kidnappers, who she was certain would eventually kill her. She had hoped for a quick and painless death.
The model also revealed that her tormentors were torn between selling her on the dark web as a sex slave and holding her for ransom.
Ayling expressed hurt at the skepticism portrayed by the people who did not believe her kidnapping story was real.
The Case Continues
The district judge presiding over the case, Paul Goldspring, remained unconvinced by Scott’s findings, pegging his decision to not be swayed by the revelations on the fact that a lot of his material was obtained from the press—most of which could not be verified.
On Friday, Judge Goldspring delivered a ruling that Michal Herba should be extradited to Italy for a trial.
Though Herba’s lawyers stated he will appeal the decision, the case will likely continue to go on for months to come.