Abducted model feared for her life ‘second by second’
Police: Chloe Ayling was to be auctioned on ‘deep dark web.’
A British model who police say was kidnapped in Italy to be auctioned online through the “deep dark web” told reporters outside her home Monday that she was lucky to be alive and praised author- ities for saving her.
Chloe Ayling was abducted July 11 by at least two men after she was lured from London to a phony photo shoot at an abandoned storefront in Milan, according to Ital- ian police.
During her captivity, she was drugged, gagged, bound, stuffed into a duffel bag and driven in the trunk of car to a remote farmhouse outside Turin, where she slept tied hand and foot to furniture, police say.
While she was being held, her abductors were allegedly preparing her for “auction” on the dark Web, a corner of the internet where user identities are masked — by encryption and subterfuge — to buy and sell illicit goods.
Her kidnappers, reportedly members of a cyber- crime crew calling itself “Black Death Group,” sought to sell her via the internet as a sex slave for $300,000, according to police.
Ayling was freed by her abductors on July 17 after being dropped off at the Brit- ish consulate in Milan.
“I’ve been through a terrifying experience. I’ve feared for my life, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour,” she told reporters, according to the Inde- pendent.
“I’m incredibly grateful to the Italian and U.K. author- ities for all they have done to secure my safe release,” Ayling said.
The 20-year-old, who was represented by a British modeling agency and whose Ins- tagram account featured her posing in swimsuits and lingerie, described her abduction to Italian authorities.
In a statement to police, published by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Ayling said: “A person wearing black gloves came up from behind and put one hand on my neck and the other on my mouth, while a second person, wearing a black balaclava, injected me in my right arm.”
“I think I lost consciousness. When I woke up I was wearing a pink bodysuit and the socks I’m in now. I realized I was in the boot of a car, with my wrists and ankles tied and my mouth taped. I was inside a bag, with only a small hole that allowed me to breathe.”
Shortly after Ayling was freed, Italian police arrested a 30-year-old Polish national who lives part-time in England. Lukasz Pawel Herba was charged with kidnapping, said Lorenzo Bucossi, the head of the Milan Police Mobile Command unit.
According to authorities, cited by British and Italian reporters, Ayling was freed after her kidnappers learned that she was the mother of a 2-year-old boy.