A fantastic story hit the news this week, detailing with lots of adjectives like “harrowing”, the tale of typically large-chested British bottle blonde Page 3 girl Chloe Ayling being abducted on a photo shoot and being held for ransom before miraculously being released unharmed shortly after a shopping trip for shoes.
My career as an investigator has included chewing the ends of pens to later identify the person who stole them and watching a number of the earlier seasons of CSI. Factoring in that experience, this story doesn’t really pass the sniff test.
South Londoner Ayling, 20, had previous achieved minor levels of pervert fame with a few goes at getting the funbags out for The Sun and displaying a lot of skin on Instagram. While no-one had ever heard of it before, it turns out she was also in a YouTube video series called “Frisky Friday”, where she pretends to be a vlogger’s girlfriend and strips down to her underwear to seduce his buddy. It’s quality stuff.
Here’s her version of events.
On July 10, Chloe claims her UK agent sent her to Milan for a photo shoot. She turned up to a studio near the central railway station, but says the studio was a fake. She says she was then drugged by abductors ketamine, handcuffed and stuffed into a large suitcase by a couple of Bourne villains, then driven for a few hours to a village near Turin. When she woke up, she was wearing a pink leotard, underwear and socks.
She says was handcuffed to furniture in a farmhouse, and a skeevy Euro grommet named MD told her she had been kidnapped by mistake. Ayling, who had a sensational amount of background information for a kidnap victim, said the kidnappers were part of an international syndicate called Black Death that sold woman as sex slaves over the Dark Web.
She says MD stayed with her in the house for the next six days. He told her he was trying to get her freed, and asked her to provide the names of three people who could pay a $300,000 ransom, and remarkably, she could name three middle-aged white guys off the top of her head like most Page 3 girls can.
On July 17, she says MD told her that she would be released on four conditions: that the police not investigate her kidnapping, that she and her family not speak badly of Black Death, that she and her family promote the organisation through interviews, and that $500,000 be paid to Black Death. Ayling said she was released because the gang learnt that she was a mother, which sounds like a reason a group named “Black Death” would give. MD drove Ms Ayling to the British consulate in Milan on July 17 and released her. He was promptly arrested, blowing the first condition.
No word yet if Hallmark has bought the rights for a daytime TV dramatisation.
Want some more details?
It turns out MD is a Polish guy who, in a huge shock, lives in Britain. Police named him as Lukasz Herba, and described him as a dangerous fantasist “with traces of mythomania”. They said he claimed to be a “paid killer” for Black Death, but suggested some of his claims may have been made up. Or, all of them.
He told police that he carried out the kidnapping to pay for leukaemia treatment, but could not provide evidence that he in fact had the disease, despite looking well and truly pasty enough. Herba claimed that he was forced to become involved with the kidnapping by Black Death, who he said was based in Birmingham, and have a name that sounds ominous and unverifiable.
Ayling claimed five people were involved in her abduction, but police are only hunting for one accomplice, Herba’s brother Mikail. Maybe he has the leukaemia.
Photos of Ayling in the pink leotard encouraging buyers to bid upwards of $300,000 were emailed to UK newspapers The Sun and The Daily Mirror a few weeks ago but were ignored, probably because they get that stuff in all the time. Her boob was hanging out on one, so maybe they just thought it was a regular submission.
“Did you know chloe ayling has been kidnapped in italy and is now for sale by russian mafia ??? See attachament. i been sending wit codes but ppl dunno how to open so i send unprotected now. it will be f***n hot mateeee.”
The redtops’ apathy changed once she was released, police were involved, and Ayling’s Instagram pics were found. I bet someone was fired over not getting to it sooner – kids’ voicemails have been tapped for less interesting stories.
The jackpot was hit when it was discovered that headlines could include combinations of scary words like “sex slave”, “Black Death”, “blonde”, “British”, “glamour model”, “Dark Web” and “Bitcoin” – there’s clicks in that stuff.
Here’s the good stuff.
Villagers in Borgial have been extremely unhelpful, saying they thought Ayling and Lukasz Herba were a couple when she arrived with him last month. They also mentioned that Ayling was seen shopping for shoes and groceries with Herba the day before she was released.
Ayling initially told police that she didn’t leave the farmhouse at all during her six days in captivity, but a saleswoman told police she sold Ayling shoes to the model on July 16. According to court documents, Ms Ayling burst into tears when police presented this evidence to her in an interview, and told investigators she couldn’t give a “reasonable explanation” for why she failed to mention the shopping trip. I can think of one.
Her Italian lawyer Francesco Pesce later came up with an implausible excuse as to why she didn’t try to alert anyone while purchasing kidnap necessities like shoes: she feared for her life.
“She was told by this man that there were many people of this ‘Black Death’ organisation around her, and even if she tried to flee, she was going to die.”
Still important to get the right shoes when you’re fearing for your life, though.
The pair also had breakfast together in Milan on the day of her release because the consulate hadn’t yet opened when they arrived. Googling the opening times surely would have avoided that sort of plot hole.
Ayling had previously met her alleged kidnapper, a friend unhelpfully told MailOnline:
“I can’t say too much because Chloe is being debriefed by British police and the Foreign Office, but she did know the man who kidnapped her. She met him in April on a photo shoot she had been on in Paris.”
Definitely seems like a Paris photoshoot guy.
Another friend was equally unhelpful. Former Big Brother contestant Biannca Lake, who was a real sport and flashed her norks when she was evicted, told the Daily Star:
“I told her what happened with me. I auditioned for Big Brother five times, then I did this documentary where I said I’d slept with over 300 men. Then Big Brother contacted me and put me in. She knows this – if you get in the press, you’ll get on Big Brother. That is her dream gig.”
The Sun also helpfully named and outed the three middle-aged white guys who Chloe thought would have had $300,000 lying around to pay to a topless model: a celebrity agent, 50, a former Loaded magazine publisher, 53, and an investment banker, 57. I bet they had some explaining to do later that evening. Amazing how without her phone it was so easy to find their contact details.
According to The Sun, Miss Ayling’s kidnappers told another of her many, many agents to get in touch with three businessman to raise the money for her ransom.
The demand said: ‘I am sure that this experience properly exposed to the media will kickstart her career. She will be very comfortable in giving money back.’
It’s certainly been properly exposed to the media so far.
Phil Green, no, not that one, who’s been axed as her agent already, said that she had received £200,000 of job offers by the Monday morning.
“We spoke on the day she got back many times because there was a huge amount of work, job offers, interviews coming in.”
Carla Bellucci, the model agent who used to represent Ayling, told the Evening Standard:
“As a friend I want to believe her. I was supposed to see her yesterday, but she’s signed with a new celebrity agency and they’ve told her not to talk to me. I’ve heard they’re trying to get a £20,000 photoshoot deal. Chloe’s always been looking for fame.”
Not explained yet is why rich guys would apparently pay $500,000 to buy a ketamine-drugged run-of-the-mill British Glamour model illegally via an online Bitcoin auction when scores of them fly out weekly voluntarily to visit Persian dudes on yachts in Dubai, Nice and the Greek Islands.
I, unfortunately, have a few cynical buddies. While I totally believe this story, some of them have suggested that the skeevy guy and his brother might have concocted a scheme with a blonde Page 3 girl to fake a kidnapping while hiding out in a rural Italian village, with the aim of getting some extra cash out of some old guys who have previously paid blonde Page 3 girls for ‘company’, with the added bonus of selling the story and future photoshoots to the pervier media outlets.
One of them paraphrased Kerry Packer, who once watched a business he’d just sold receive a £51 million insurance payout for a mysterious fire, when they said, “It sounds like a very good kidnapping”.
But like I said, they’re cynical people.