Chloe Ayling has hit out at those who claimed her kidnapping could be a publicity stunt, saying she went through her ‘worst nightmare’.
The British model, 20, was allegedly injected with drugs, handcuffed and stuffed in a bag to be sold as a sex slave after going to a fashion shoot in Italy.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, she said she tried to make emotional ties with her captor, including sleeping in the same bed, to try and persuade him to release her.
Questions about whether she was somehow ‘in on’ the kidnapping were hurtful, she said: ‘People were criticising me for smiling when I was photographed back home – but why wouldn’t I smile? I survived.’
She was told she had been taken by an organised crime group called ‘Black Death’ – though says she now doubts whether the group is ‘real’ or if she was lied to.
Police say her alleged captor is a ‘mythomaniac’ (fantasist) and ‘pathological liar’.
Will the Queen step aside at 95 to make Charles the Prince Regent?Chloe, of Coulsdon, south London, recalled the moment she was abducted, saying: ‘I didn’t know what was in the syringe. I was panicking. I thought they were going to rob or rape me. I was terrified beyond words.
‘They dragged me to the floor. I just gave up – I thought, “I’m not going to get out of here alive.
‘I felt trapped, then everything went black.’
When she regained consciousness, she was in the boot of a car with her feet and legs handcuffed with her clothes partly removed.
Her alleged kidnappers told her they had taken the ‘wrong woman’ as she had a son – but that she would be auctioned off with bids starting at 300,000 dollars (£230,000).
She said: ‘That was too much to take in. I was in shock. That will always be the worst day of my life.’
Ms Ayling was eventually taken to the British Consulate in Milan after the ‘horrific ordeal’, but could not return home to London for almost three weeks.
Meanwhile, the chief suspect in the alleged kidnap has said he did not knowingly take part in any crime.
Lukasz Pawel Herba says his involvement stems from wanting to raise money to treat his leukaemia and that he was hired by a group of Romanians to rent properties around Europe to store garments they were selling, according to reports.
He is also said to have told investigators he posed as a photographer and met Ms Ayling.
He said he was paid £500,000, found out the Romanians intended to kidnap her, and backed out of the plan.