British model kidnapped in Milan 'to be sold in online auction'

Image source, AFP/Getty Images
Image caption, Italian police released an image of Lukasz Herba who has been arrested on kidnapping charges

A British model was drugged and kidnapped in Milan to be sold in an online auction, say Italian police.

The woman, 20, had arrived in the city to take part in a photo shoot arranged through her agent, but was abducted and held captive for six days.

Polish national Lukasz Herba, 30, who lives in the UK, has been arrested on kidnapping charges, police said.

The Foreign Office said it was providing consular support to a British woman.

The model, who has not been named, arrived in Milan on 10 July.

Image source, Polizia di Stato
Image caption, The woman was loaded into a bag and put into the boot of a car
Image source, Polizia di Stato
Image caption, The woman went to an apartment in Milan under the belief she was to take part in a photo shoot

She arrived at an apartment the following day for the shoot, where she was attacked by two men, said police.

Police said the woman was drugged, handcuffed and loaded into a bag and put into the boot of car which was driven to an isolated house in Borgial, northwest of Turin.

Italian prosecutor Paolo Storari said: "The victim was doped with ketamine - then she was locked in a bag and carried for hours in a car.

"Think what could would have happened if she suffered from asthma."

The woman was kept handcuffed to a wooden chest of drawers in the bedroom for six days until she was released and taken to the British consulate in Milan, according to police.

Investigators said they discovered the kidnapper had organised several online auctions for the sale of abducted girls, which included a description and an opening price.

Image source, Polizia di Stato
Image caption, The model was held captive in an isolated house in Borgial for six days
Image source, Polizia di Stato
Image caption, The woman was handcuffed to a chest of drawers in a bedroom

Police said it was unclear whether he had really abducted the victims or invented them for the auction.

The kidnapper used an encrypted account to ask the model's agent for £230,000 ($300,000) to stop her from being sold in auction.

He claimed he was working on behalf of the "Black Death Group", an organisation which operates in the deep web for illegal traffics, police said.

The victim told police the kidnapper said he would free her because the group had not realised she had a small child and they did not deal with mothers, prosecutors added.

Investigations into the case are being carried out by authorities in Italy, Poland and the UK.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said an address in Sampson Close, Oldbury, had been raided on 18 July in connection with the inquiry.

It is understood that the raid was led by Derbyshire Police, assisted by West Midlands officers.

The kidnapper was captured by police as he was accompanying the model to the British Consulate in Milan, according to the Daily Telegraph.

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