The lawyer for a British model who was allegedly kidnapped and held for nearly a week in Italy is pushing back against suggestions that his client was an “accomplice” in the ordeal.
Chloe Ayling, a 20-year-old mother, said she was attacked during what she thought was a photo shoot in Milan. She claimed she was drugged and put in a suitcase before she was taken to and held at a remote cabin against her will.
She described the six-day ordeal as a “terrifying” experience, but news that she went shopping for groceries and shoes with her captor has sparked suspicion surrounding the circumstances of her kidnapping, the Guardian reported.
Ayling’s lawyer, Francesco Pesce said authorities initially had “legitimate doubts” about her story, all of which have been “surpassed.”
British model recalls ‘terrifying experience’ after kidnapping
Pesce said suggestions that Ayling may have been involved in her own kidnapping were “evil,” adding she only complied with her captors out of fear.
“She went along with what he asked her to do, look at shoes and buy groceries,” he told CNN. “This doesn’t make her an accomplice. She decided to go along with it to avoid any kind of conflict, followed him blindly and went into a shoe shop.”
Ayling told police after the ordeal that she’d developed a trusting relationship with her kidnapper who gave her underwear and chocolates. She said they slept in the same bed, but that he did not assault her, the Telegraph reported.
Ayling on July 11 traveled to a photo shoot at what her agent, Phil Green, said was “a recognized studio in the city center,” Fox News reported. When she arrived there, she was grabbed by the neck by one person while another injected her with a dose of ketamine. From there she was reportedly bound, stuffed in a bag and taken to a house where she was kept handcuffed to a dresser.
‘Black Death’ group kidnapped British model for publicity: report
She was dropped off at the British Consulate six days later. Ayling said they released her because abducting mothers goes against the rules of the gang called “Black Death.”
Police said the suspect, Lukasz Pawel Herba, intended to sell her online and demanded ransom from her agent. Authorities are still investigating his ties to the Black Death.
Upon her release, Herba handed Ayling a business card for the organization and asked her to provide them with positive publicity.
A police spokesman refused to tell the Guardian whether they were investigating a partnership between Herba and Ayling.
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“It’s a very delicate investigation and we can’t say anything,” he said. “We are investigating a crime. Everything will be communicated in an official way.”
Ayling, meanwhile, has been trying to return to normalcy. A friend, Cara Belluci, told BBC the model was prepping for a topless photo shoot Tuesday afternoon.
Belluci, a model and agent, said she spoke to Ayling on Sunday, who told her about her scheduled shoot for Page Three.
“She said it was horrendous,” Belluci told the news outlet. “She is trying to be strong. I think stuff is coming back to her. She did say she was drugged and I think now memories are coming to her, slowly.”
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