LONDON — A British judge has ruled that a suspect accused of involvement in the kidnapping of British model Chloe Ayling should be sent to Italy to face trial.
The lawyer for Michal Herba, 36, said he will appeal Friday’s ruling by the Westminster Magistrates Court. George Hepburne Scott said Herba “continues to protest his innocence in the strongest possible terms.”
The model says she was drugged and held hostage by a group that called itself Black Death after being lured to Milan for a fake photo shoot in July. She said the kidnappers planned to auction her online unless she paid 300,000 euros ($355,000) for her freedom.
Scott had argued in court that the case might have been made up as part of an elaborate publicity stunt to boost Ayling’s career.
The suspect’s brother, Lukasz Herba, is being held in custody in Italy. He also denies any role in the kidnapping.
Italian police say the Polish-born brothers belong to the Black Death group, which claims to sell women as sex slaves via dark sites on the internet.
Ayling, 20, told authorities she was held captive in a remote farmhouse.
Michal Herba was arrested in England on a European Arrest Warrant last month after Italian authorities sought his detention.
Judge Paul Goldspring said there was no reason to think the kidnapping story had been made up.
“I make clear there is no evidence to support it being a sham,” he said.