A British model was kidnapped and held captive in Italy for six days, police have said, by a man who reportedly intended to auction her on the dark web.
A Polish national, with British residence, has been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping for extortion purposes, according to reports, after the 20-year-old woman was returned to the British consulate in Milan. It is currently unclear why the kidnapping came to an end.
Police said woman had come to Milan for a photo shoot, apparently a fake setup, and was attacked and abducted on 11 July.
According to court documents, the woman was drugged and transported in a bag to Borgial, an isolated village near Turin.
It is alleged two men tried to sell the woman online for around £230,000 and demanded the model’s agent pay to secure her safe release.
She was kept handcuffed to furniture but was freed after six days and taken to the British embassy in Milan, despite the ransom not being paid.
The suspect, who has been named in reports as Lukasz Herba, dropped her off at the consulate on 17 July, police said.
At one point, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the woman was told she could be freed upon payment of around £45,000. It has also been reported that the captors threatened to kill her if she told police about the incident.
Investigators are exploring the possibility the woman was abducted so she could be auctioned off online as a sex slave, according to reports.
Corriere della Serra said the suspect discovered the model had a young child and considered her unsuitable for sex trafficking.
Italian police said they are working with officials in Britain and Poland as they continue to investigate.
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.”