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

The woman was held for six days in Milan Italy

AFR The woman was held for six days in Milan Italy

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

Police said she was held for a week in abandoned offices in the city and officers are now looking for accomplices after the model told them she was "attacked by two people".

She was allegedly assaulted and drugged when she arrived at the studio the next day, then placed in a vehicle boot and taken to a small village near Turin where she was kept prisoner by Lukasz Pawel Herba, a British resident born in Poland, police said.

Her captors then dropped off the model July 17 at the British Consulate in Milan.

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Detectives are unclear as to whether Herba was serious about auctioning his victim or if it was simply a threat meant to extort 300,000 euros in Bitcoin from the model's agent and family.

The interior "dungeon" of the farmhouse where the model was kept for six days before she was taken back to Milan to be released.

The woman in her 20s, who has not been named, allegedly flew over to Milan from Paris to attend the shoot after being told to by her United Kingdom agent.

The websites for the auctions included a description of the victim and a starting price but police said it was still unclear whether the suspect had made them up.

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Officials have released a mugshot of the suspect, named as 30-year-old Lukasz Pawel Herba.

The kidnappers then started blackmailing her modelling agency, demanding USD$300,000 (A$377,000) in ransom, Italian authorities said.

At one point, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the woman was told she could be freed upon payment of €50,000 euros (around £45,000).

They also traced his mobile phone and tracked down a taxi driver who gave him a lift and were able to lie in wait at the Consulate for him.

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Investigations in the case are ongoing in Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom.

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