Suspected Kidnapper Extradited in “Black Death Group” Case

Not long after a Milan court sentenced Lukasz Pawel Herba to almost 17 years in prison for kidnapping Chloe Ayling, authorities extradited Lukasz Herba’s brother, Michal Konrad Herba, to Italy where he faces kidnapping and accessory charges. Ayling accused both brothers of kidnapping her and threatening to auction her to wealthy men who purchase women through a darknet human trafficking site. Herba had fabricated the human trafficking and darknet part of the plot, but the Milan court found him guilty of kidnapping Ayling in an effort to ransom her to her “wealthy friends.”

Chloe Ayling, a formerly unknown Instagram “model,” claimed that the Herba brothers—alongside at least three additional kidnappers—had lured her to a fake photoshoot in Milan. According to the statements she gave Italian authorities, Lukasz Herba had posed as a client in need of a model for a motorbike advertisement. When Ayling, 20, had arrived at the location of the “photoshoot,” both brothers approached her, injected her with ketamine, and then placed her in the trunk of a vehicle. She said they travelled to a remote house in Lemie where they remained for nearly a week.

Lukasz Herba, once at the cabin, had Ayling provide the contact information of her wealthiest friends and acquaintances. He then sent them letters or emails with pictures of Ayling and demands for $300,000. When nobody could or would pay that price, the Polish man started requesting $50,000 in exchange for Ayling’s safe return. Nobody, including her manager, offered to pay the ransom. The man had also listed her on a darknet site for a fictional human trafficking group called the “Black Death Group.” He uploaded a picture, her measurements, and the cost.

The kidnappers had told Ayling that they worked for this human trafficking group and that other people in the town were also contracted by the “Black Death Group.”

As the plan to ransom Ayling started failing, the other kidnappers (likely only Michal) started leaving. Lukasz, according to Ayling, had become infatuated with her. Ayling said he continued to ask if they could have a relationship and she convinced him that after he let her go, they could work on building a relationship of some sort. So, finally, Lukasz walked with Ayling to the closest consulate where the police arrested him and heard their stories.

After nearly one year of investigation, Italian authorities have allegedly discovered evidence that Michal Herba had helped his brother in the kidnapping. Evidence allegedly linked Michal to the purchase of the car used to carry Ayling from Milan to the house in Lemie. Police in the UK arrested Michal in 2017 after Italian authorities requested his extradition. Michal fought the extradition but only managed to delay his trip to Italy. On June 22, Michal Herba landed in Italy and was taken into custody by Italian authorities. He will now sit in a cell in Milan until his trial for his role in the kidnapping of Chloe Ayling.