MILAN: A British model and her lawyer have identified her as the victim of an alleged abduction in Milan by kidnappers who tried to auction her online.
The incident was reported over the weekend. Ayling was allegedly attacked by two men as she attended a photoshoot. The 20-year-old is believed to have been drugged and transported in a bag to Borgial, an isolated village near Turin, before being released six days later and taken to the British consulate in Milan.
In a statement published by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra, she 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 realised 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.”
Ayling’s identity was confirmed by her lawyer, Francesco Pesce.
Ayling said that she screamed so much her captors were forced to stop the car three times while transporting her. She said her feet and hands were tied to a chest of drawers when in the house. “I was forced to sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag,” she said.
Ayling, allegedly abducted on 11 July, flew home on Sunday. The glamour model’s captors are alleged to have tried to sell her for more than US$300,000 (£230,000) and demanded her agent pay a ransom.
But the authorities reportedly said she was released when they found out she had a two-year-old child as their rules forbade kidnapping mothers.
The Mail Online published a letter purportedly sent to Ayling upon her release by a group called Black Death, which said she was being freed because of “huge generosity”.
It made clear that there should be no investigation into what happened, that she should not speak ill of her kidnappers and that she should pay US$50,000 in BitCoins within a month. The letter said failure to comply would “result in your elimination”.
An alleged “advert” for Ayling stated: “Girls can be transported globally, we have contractors for that, for a price … EU delivery is free, might take time dependant on current location and drop-off point.” It said the auction would take place on July 16.
A Polish man who lives in Britain was arrested on 18 July on suspicion of kidnap and extortion, state police said. Officials released a mugshot of the suspect, named as 30-year-old Lukasz Pawel Herba. Police are searching for accomplices, of whom there are believed to be three or four.
Lawyer Pesce, said: “I hope they find them soon as this could be very dangerous for other girls. This was a massive investigation that was carried out quickly; the police have worked very hard. The only mystery now is why this person [one of the suspects] went to the consulate with her.
“She suffered a lot. It was an awful experience … and to believe that she would never see her family again. I was so encouraged to see how strong she was [when she revisited the house], a 20-year-old who had been through a terrible ordeal.”
“Now she is home and it’s important that she has time with her family and is left alone.”
Italian police said they were working with officials in Britain and Poland as they continue to investigate.