A group who ‘snatched and drugged a British model to be sold as a sex slave’ boasted they let her go because she was a mother, Italian police said.
The woman, 20, was lured to Milan for a photoshoot, but when she arrived at a fake studio in the city she was attacked by two men and forced to take ketamine, it is claimed.
She was stuffed into a car boot and driven miles away, handcuffed to a chest of drawers and ‘put up for sale on an online auction site for more than £230,000’ according to police.
But the organised crime group known as Black Death said it was a ‘mistake’ to abduct her because she had a young child which was against their policies.
Police confirm Brit model was kidnapped to be sold online
They let her go, but told her she would be ‘eliminated’ if she spoke to anyone about her ordeal.
The model was handed a letter before she was allowed to leave, found by police when they searched computers in the investigation.
It reads: ‘A mistake was made by capturing you, especially considering you are a young mother that should have in no circumstances be lured into kidnapping.’
She was warned not to speak about what happened and to pay €50,000.
‘Disobedience will result in your elimination’: Chilling letter to the victim
‘You are being released as a huge generosity from Black Death Group. Your release does, however, come with a warning and you should read this letter very carefully.
‘You are certainly aware of your value on human slavery market and must make a note that this isn’t personal, this is business. For your release we have taken a number of factors into consideration.
‘A mistake was made by capturing you, especially considering you are a young mother that should have in no circumstances be lured into kidnapping. Second important factor you are very well aware of is your overall protection by one of our main and very well respected men who made a very clear and solid stance in your case.
‘You will, upon your landing in your home country cease any investigation activities related to your kidnapping. You also agreed to sneak a pre-determined set of information in to the media and we will expect to see evidence that has been done in the near future.
‘You and your family will, in no way ever talk about us in bad language and without respect. You have been treated fairly, with respect and we expect to hear exactly the same about us in return. You can release any information you have heard from MO while your holding as he would never give you any information that could harm our activities. We will not tolerate lying about anything that has happened.
‘You have also agreed to pay outstanding costs of your release of $50,000. We expect that money to be paid in BitCoins within one month.
‘Any sort of disobedience with the above will result in your elimination.’
The woman is believed to have been forced into a bag and transported to an isolated farmhouse 120 miles away in a village near Turin, before being released on July 17 after six days of imprisonment.
A Polish man, who lives in Britain, was arrested on July 18 on suspicion of kidnap and extortion, state police said.
Officials have released a mugshot of the suspect, named as 30-year-old Lukasz Pawel Herba.
Police said they were still unsure whether the group were actually running the online auctions they claimed to be, or whether it could be a scam to dupe people into paying.
Milan police officer Lorenzo Bucossi told reporters the group the suspect was allegedly working for offered ‘mercenary services’ on the dark web.
Mr Bucossi said: ‘Certainly the author of this very serious crime is a dangerous person – don’t forget he was also ready to carry out a ‘final solution’, as he called it.
Italian police said they are working with officials in Britain and Poland as they continue to investigate.
It was not clear whether the group did intend to release the woman or whether they realised police were investigating.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: ‘We have been providing consular support to a British woman in Italy and are in touch with local authorities.’