Suspect Calls ‘Black Death’ Kidnapping a Publicity Stunt
Lukasz Herba, the Polish man accused of kidnapping an Instagram ‘model’ to auction on the darknet, told officials that the model had planned the so-called “kidnapping” to further her career. The model, Chloe Ayling, had accused Herba and his brother of luring her to a fake photoshoot in Milan, kidnapping her, and attempting to auction her on the darknet several months ago. She immediately faced skepticism for the inconsistencies in her story.
Even Ms. Alyling’s lawyer called the story “hard to believe.” The timeline for the seemingly fake kidnapping can be read here—Timeline: British Model Supposedly Kidnapped for Darknet Auction. According to the version of events Ms. Ayling gave to Italian police, Lukasz Herba and his brother Michal Herba kidnapped the single mother to auction on a darknet human trafficking site. Lukasz Herba claimed they worked as operatives for the “Black Death Group.” The group itself claims to be a secretive human trafficking organization that operates on the darknet. The group is likely fake, but even if it exists, Lukasz and Michal have no affiliation with the group.
We covered the various elements of the story that made no sense in the article “Black Death Group Kidnapping Case is a Publicity Sham.” Even then, Ayling’s story was suspect. She lied to the police about the events (on likely more occasions than we know). She said that she had never left the house that her alleged kidnappers had kept her in. But shop owners saw Ayling and Lukasz Herba walking through the small town and eating lunch. They even went shoe shopping.
L. Herba and Ayling had met (at least once) several months before the “kidnapping.” The Polish man’s lawyer said that Ayling had planned the ordeal at a previous meeting in France. She would do anything if it would put her on TV and boost her career, one of Ayling’s friends said.
In the Milan court, Herba’s lawyer requested that the court summon Ayling to give a statement. Francesco Pesce, Ayling’s lawyer, said that his client did not want to see the person who made her fear for her life “second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour.” Pesce added that “she doesn’t want to return to Italy and again see the face of her kidnapper.”
Ayling returned to her Coulsdon home in Surrey and fired her original agent and hired a celebrity agent. The bikini/Instagram model started working on a book about her “traumatic experience” as a “victim of sex traffickers.” She now does public speaking at human trafficking awareness events. She may still be bookable for modeling gigs through Instagram.