United Kingdom model 'kidnapped in Milan in bid to auction her off online'

Police in Italy say a kidnapper tried to sell a British model on the dark web for £270,000

Police in Italy say a kidnapper tried to sell a British model on the dark web for £270,000

A British model was kidnapped and held captive for several days in Italy by a man who threatened to auction her off on the dark web, police have said.

The suspect, who has been named in reports as Lukasz Herba, dropped her off at the consulate on 17 July, police said.

It is claimed the woman was taken to an abandoned office block on July 11 close to Milan's Central station in the boot of a auto.

The police say the man, Lukasz Pawel Herba, 30, a Polish citizen who lives in the United Kingdom, was charged with kidnapping for extortion purposes.

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Her kidnapper reportedly demanded €300,000 off her agent in the United Kingdom to prevent her "sale" online.

Herba, who is reported to now live in the West Midlands, is accused of luring the woman to Milan from Paris with a promise of a fake photoshoot. Reports in Italy say Herba told officers he had sex with the model but it is unclear whether it was consensual and police are still investigating the claim. Italian authorities believe that no ransom was paid for her release.

The woman was released when the man discovered she had a child, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, but police said it was unclear why she was freed.

It added that she had been let go after one of its men made "a clear and solid stance in your case".

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The man has confessed to the crime and his phone and computer - including photos of the model being offered on the "deep web" - have been confiscated. He was jailed for investigation of suspected kidnapping for extortion purposes. It is now unclear why the kidnapping came to an end.

The agent then contacted police and Herba reportedly negotiated a £50,000 ransom with them which he expected to receive at the Consulate.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office confirmed they are "providing consular support to a British woman in Italy and are in touch with local authorities".

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