Chloe Ayling: Truth or fantasy?
Model Chloe Ayling, 20, was lured to a fake photoshoot in Milan before being drugged with the horse tranquilliser ketamine and bundled into a car boot.
She told Italian police: “When I woke up I was wearing a pink bodysuit and the socks I am wearing now.
“I was in a car boot with my wrists and ankles handcuffed, adhesive tape on my mouth. I was inside a bag and only able to breathe through a small hole.”
Chloe said she was driven 120 miles to a remote farmhouse where she was handcuffed to a chest of drawers and slept on the floor for a week.
Her gangland kidnappers – called the Black Death Group – posted naked photos of Chloe on the dark web, offering her for sale at £230,000.
Police said she was only released when her kidnappers discovered she was a mother with a young son – a breach of the gang’s rules.
The so-called Black Death group is an organisation operating deep within the “dark web” rumoured to be responsible for a network of kidnapping and people trafficking.
Although rumours of its existence have circulated for several years, the kidnapping of Chloe Ayling in Milan is believed to be the only crime authorities have publicly linked to it.
The name is notorious on sections of the internet due to the scale and depravity of its offending, though it’s not clear if its photos touting women for sale are authentic, nor if it is as proficient as it claims to be.
It’s claimed that users of the “dark web” pay huge fees to buy women who have been kidnapped from across Europe.
A 2015 article by Vice’s Motherboard stated its reporter had found images of women chained up with the victim being offered for sale £115,000.
However, an update on the article from last month states: "As suspected, it seems that at least one of the listings for "trafficked girls" on this site is not real. A reader on Twitter (who has since deleted their tweet) and a commenter on this article have shared a link to a porn video that appears to feature the same blonde girl presented on the site as "Nicole." The suspiciously staged-looking photos appear to be screenshots of this video."
The plot thickens.