A British model who was allegedly kidnapped in Milan and detained for six days while her captor tried to auction her online has returned to the UK.
The 20-year-old woman, named in reports as Chloe Ayling, was attacked on July 11 by two men as she attended an arranged photo shoot.
She is believed to have been drugged and transported in a bag to Borgial, an isolated village near Turin, before being released on July 17, Italian police said.
Ayling arrived back at her home in Coulsdon, south London, on Sunday, and according to the Daily Telegraph, she said: “I’ve been through a terrifying experience. I feared for my life, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour.
“I am incredibly grateful to the Italian and UK authorities for all they have done to secure my safe release.”
A Polish man, who lives in Britain, was arrested on July 18 on suspicion of kidnap and extortion, state police said.
Officials have released a mugshot of the suspect, named as 30-year-old Lukasz Pawel Herba (photo).
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The National Crime Agency (NCA) said it has been assisting with the investigation.
A spokesman said: “The NCA and the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (Emsou) have been working closely with the Italian authorities since the kidnap was reported.
“NCA officers in Italy and specialists from our anti kidnap and extortion unit are also providing support to the Polizia di Stato as part of the ongoing investigation.
“A house in the Oldbury area linked to Lukasz Pawel Herba was searched on July 18 by Emsou officers with assistance from West Midlands Police.
“Computer equipment seized is being forensically examined.”
It is alleged the men tried to sell Ayling online for more than 300,000 dollars (€254,464) and demanded the model’s agent pay to secure her safe release.
She was kept handcuffed to furniture but was freed after six days and taken to the British consulate in Milan, despite the ransom not being paid, police said.
It has been reported the captor demanded £50,000 (€55,340) upon her release and threatened to kill her if she told police about the incident.
Milan police officer Lorenzo Bucossi told reporters the group the suspect was allegedly working for offered “mercenary services” on the dark web.
According to a translation on Sky News, Bucossi said: “Certainly the author of this very serious crime is a dangerous person, don’t forget he was also ready to carry out a ‘final solution’, as he called it.
“He was a killer and was working for an organisation on the deep web that is offering mercenary services such as bombing attacks, kidnapping and the selling of girls on the dark web.”
Italian police said they are working with officials in Britain and Poland as they continue to investigate. (PA)