British glamour model allegedly kidnapped for sale as sex slave will not have to give evidence in Italy
A British glamour model who claims she was kidnapped for sale as a sex slave will not have to return to Italy to give evidence in the trial of her alleged abductor, a court ruled on Wednesday.
The decision was handed down on the first day of the trial in Milan of Lukasz Pawel Herba, a 30-year-old Polish man who is accused of kidnapping Chloe Ayling, from Coulsdon in Surrey, in July.
The court denied a request by his lawyers to compel Ms Ayling to give evidence in the trial.
Instead, testimony she gave to Italian police will be submitted to the court.
The 20-year-old model’s lawyers had argued that she could not face once again confronting her alleged kidnappers.
“She doesn’t want to return to Italy and again see the face of her kidnapper,” said Francesco Pesce, her lawyer.
The bikini model claims she was lured to a photo shoot at a studio in Milan and then drugged, bundled into a canvas bag and driven to a farmhouse in the countryside outside Turin.
She claims that her kidnappers tried to auction her for sale as a sex slave for on the dark web for £230,000.
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Earlier this year she said she feared for her life "second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour.”
She was allegedly held hostage for six days before Herba drove her to Milan and handed her over to the British consulate. He was immediately arrested.
Herba has denied the charges.
He has claimed through his lawyers that the “kidnapping” was a stunt, arranged with the complicity of Ms Ayling during a meeting in Paris in order to garner publicity and advance her modelling career.
Doubts emerged over Ms Ayling’s account after it emerged from her testimony to Italian police that she had gone shoe shopping with her captor during her alleged ordeal and had breakfast with Herba on the morning that he delivered her to the British consulate.
Her lawyer has said that while it seemed “incredible” and “strange” that Herba would effectively give himself up to the authorities, Ms Ayling’s account was nonetheless “true”.
The trial was adjourned until February 7.
Lukasz Herba is accused of carrying out the plot with his brother, Michal Herba, 36, from Birmingham.
The elder brother was arrested in the West Midlands in the summer and is in custody in the UK, where he is fighting extradition to Italy.
Italian police claim the brothers are part of a supposed group called the Black Death, which says it sells women as sex slaves on the dark web to buyers in the Middle East.
Ms Ayling revealed in September that she plans to write a book about her ordeal.
Entitled “Six Days”, it is due to be published in the Spring.