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Kidnap or hoodwink?

11 August 2017 | Kate Owens

So this week, it would be a surprise if you have missed the news featuring Chloe Ayling. A bit of background – Chloe is a 20-year-old glamour model from London who returned back to her home after allegedly being kidnapped by two men in Italy following the promise of a photoshoot in Milan. Lured to a shopping centre, she was supposedly ambushed by the pair, injected with the horse tranquilizer Ketamin and stuffed into a suitcase and transported 120 miles to a farmhouse where she was kept. Her kidnapper Lukasz Herba, originally demanded a £270,000 ransom for Chloe, but it has also emerged that Herba was to sell Chloe to a group called the Black Death online as a sex slave.

Despite the shocking nature of the incident, since her return, suspicions have arisen that everything might not be as it seems. There are allegations that Chloe was “in” on the whole thing. First things first – CCTV footage has found Chloe walking around a shopping centre with her kidnapper, seemingly laughing and smiling whilst looking for a new pair of shoes with him. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I was kidnapped the last thing I would want to do would be to go shoe shopping. Also, why wouldn’t you yell for attention and try to get help or run away? But okay – she claimed that her kidnapper said he would kill her if she “tried anything”, so in fear she went along with it, which, not having been in that situation, could very well be the case.

However, it’s also come about that Miss Ayling had met her kidnapper, Lukasz Herba, at a photo shoot earlier in the year. This has lead to questions about the relationship between the glamour model and Herba. They apparently already knew each other before the kidnapping and from the investigation it has been revealed that during her stay with Herba, they slept in bed with one another.

Since her return, Chloe’s actions have also risen eyebrows, as, with press thronging the house, she sauntered out of her home in a tiny pair of gym shorts and a rather tight tank top, kneeling to her dog and smiling to the cameras before she made her way over to the waiting journalists. Speaking to the press, she told them that she had been fearing for her life “second by second, minute by minute and hour by hour”. Again, this has led to further reservations with many questioning why, after being kidnapped for six days, stripped out of your clothes, drugged and handcuffed to a chest of drawers, that you would choose to firstly, show yourself to the press and, secondly, show yourself to the press in such little attire? There have been those who have defended Chloe, saying her attire is her “armour” and that also – she simply loves the camera, so maybe this is just her reverting to type.

Finally though – why was Chloe released? Herba dropped Chloe off at the British Consulate in Milan without any ransom or payment received. Apparently, it’s because he and his kidnappers found out she is a mother and that is disallowed within the Black Death gang. However, after a little scroll through Chloe’s Instagram it’s evident that she is a mother as her baby boy is among her posts. Strange for someone who had done his research and specifically requested Chloe for a photoshoot in Milan. And strange that their morality, low enough to enslave someone for sexual gratification, balks at the thought of leaving a child motherless?

Since talking to the press and sharing her ordeal, Chloe has recently signed a £2,000-a-time deal with an after-dinner speaking firm, which she’s perfectly entitled to do of course, but it does add further intrigue to the situation as she’s benefiting financially so soon after what must have been a very traumatic experience. Is this a coping method for a 20-year-old girl who’s gone through a truly awful ordeal? Or is this perhaps a personal publicity stunt with financial benefit the motive? I’ll keep an open mind as more facts come to light but it’s certainly an odd scenario.