Chloe Ayling: Police arrest brother of chief suspect in kidnapping of British model in Italy

Michal Konrad Herba was detained in the West Midlands by Italian police under a European Arrest Warrant

Chris Baynes
Wednesday 16 August 2017 15:19
Model Chloe Ayling
Model Chloe Ayling

Police investigating the alleged kidnapping of a British model in Italy have arrested the brother of the chief suspect in the West Midlands.

Chloe Ayling is said to have been snatched by a group calling itself Black Death after being lured to a fake modelling shoot in Milan last month.

Chief suspect Lukasz Pawel Herba, a Polish national who lives in the UK, has denied knowingly taking part in any crime.

On Wednesday the National Crime Agency (NCA) said it had arrested his brother, Michal Konrad Herba.

The 36-year-old was detained at an address in the Tividale area of Sandwell, West Midlands, and is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Michal Konrad Herba was apprehended on a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Italian authorities, the NCA said.

Italian police have said Ms Ayling was drugged and transported in a bag to an isolated village near Turin, where she was held for six days as her captors tried to auction her over the dark web.

The model said she was injected with ketamine after being lured to a fake modelling shoot before being bundled into the boot of a car and told she was going to be sold as a sex slave.

Ms Ayling, from Coulsdon, south London, was eventually taken to the British Consulate in Milan after the "horrific ordeal" but could not return home to London for almost three weeks.

Lukasz Pawel Herba has said his involvement stemmed from wanting to raise money to treat his leukaemia and that he was hired by a group of Romanians to rent properties around Europe to store garments they were selling, according to reports.

He is also said to have told investigators he posed as a photographer and met Ms Ayling.

He said he was paid £500,000 but learned the Romanians intended to kidnap her and backed out of the plan.

Ms Ayling's former agent this week said the model had been left “humiliated” by her capture and did not make up the story for publicity, after questions were raised about about her ordeal.

Phil Green told ITV's Good Morning Britain: “Trust me, I wouldn't be sat here today, nor would Chloe be giving an interview, had it not been for the Italian police giving a press release.

“She'd been through an ordeal, she wanted to forget it and come back home and start her normal modelling life.”

Chloe Ayling 'humiliated' by kidnapping ordeal, says ex-agent

Ms Ayling received £200,000 worth of offers of work when she returned to the UK, he said, and has since moved to a new modelling agency.

But her ex-agent added: “She didn't do this for publicity purposes by any means.”

The NCA said in a statement: "Officers from West Midlands Police and East Midlands Special Operations Unit this morning arrested the brother of Lukasz Pawel Herba in connection with the kidnapping of Chloe Ayling.

"Michal Konrad Herba, 36, was apprehended at an address in the Tividale area of Birmingham on a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Italian authorities. He is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 17 August.

"The National Crime Agency and Emsou are providing specialist support to the Italian Polizia di Stato as part of this ongoing investigation."

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