UK

Milan kidnap case: Chloe Ayling was to be 'sold in Middle East'

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Media captionChloe Ayling: "I've been through a terrifying experience"

A British model who was allegedly held captive by a gang in Italy was told she would be sold in the Middle East "for sex", her lawyer has said.

Francesco Pesce also told the BBC how Chloe Ayling, 20, had been acting under duress when she was taken shopping by her captor before she was freed.

Ms Ayling was allegedly kidnapped by a group calling itself Black Death before she was released five days later.

She came home on Sunday, 26 days after she flew to Milan for a photo shoot.

Handcuffed

There, Italian police say she was attacked by two men, drugged with ketamine and abducted, apparently to be sold in an online auction.

It is alleged the kidnappers attempted to sell the model online for £230,000 and demanded her agent paid a ransom fee.

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Media captionChloe Ayling's lawyer says she thought the best thing to do was to be nice to her captor

Mr Pesce said Ms Ayling, from Coulsdon, south London, was told she was to be "sold to somebody in the Middle East for sex".

He said she had gone shopping with her captor because she had been threatened with death.

"She was told that people were there watching her and were ready to kill her if she tried anything," he said.

"So she thought that the best idea was to go along with it and be nice to her captor, because he told her he wanted to release her somehow and some time."

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Image caption Italian police released an image of suspect Lukasz Herba

Speaking on Sunday, Ms Ayling said she feared for her life throughout the "terrifying experience".

"I'm incredibly grateful to the Italian and UK authorities for all they have done to secure my safe release."

'Page three shoot'

Speaking to the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme on Tuesday, Ms Ayling's close friend Carla Berlucci, who also runs a model agency, said girls in the industry had to take care.

"Safety is always first, safety is number one," she said.

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Media captionCarla Belluci, a close friend of Ms Ayling, gives her reaction

She described her friend, who she has known since Chloe was 15, as a "good girl, a little bit naive".

Investigations into the case are being carried out by authorities in Italy, Poland and the UK.

Italian Police say she was transported in a car to a house in Borgial, north west of Turin, where she was handcuffed to a wooden chest of drawers in a bedroom for six days.

She was finally released after being taken to the British consulate in Milan, Italian officials say.

The officers said they had arrested Polish national Lukasz Herba, who lives in Oldbury in the West Midlands, on kidnapping charges.

The UK's National Crime Agency said it had been working with the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) and the Italian authorities.

A spokesman said: "A house in the Oldbury area linked to Lukasz Pawel Herba was searched on 18 July by EMSOU officers with assistance from West Midlands Police.

"Computer equipment seized is being forensically examined."

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