Who are the Black Death Group and is ‘Chloe Ayling kidnapper’ Lukasz Herba?


SO-CALLED ‘dark web’ group Black Death has been named as the alleged perpetrators behind the reported kidnapping of Chloe Ayling.

Mum-of-one Chloe Ayling, 20, told police she was drugged, handcuffed and stuffed in a suitcase while being held captive for six days – with questions now surfacing about the feared internet group that claims to sell women.

 This piece of paper - found at a Black Death-linked crime scene - purports to show the group's logo

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This piece of paper – found at a Black Death-linked crime scene – purports to show the group’s logo

Who are the Black Death Group?

The so-called Black Death group is an organisation which claims 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 it to.

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 their reporter had found images of women chained up with the victim being offered for sale £115,000.

 This message explained why they freed Chloe Ayling

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This message explained why they freed Chloe Ayling

What happened to Chloe Ayling when she was kidnapped by the organisation?

Chloe Ayling says she travelled to Milan on July 11, having being lured to Italy for a fake photoshoot.

She told police when she arrived she was injected with the tranquilliser drug ketamine and bundled into a car before being driven to a remote farmhouse in Borgial near the French border.

Pictures show she had been stripped to just a pink chenille body and socks with one breast exposed.

She said she was told she was going to be sold to rich Arabs and “fed to tigers” when they became bored of her and that one of her captors told her he had made £11 million in the past five years.

Chloe was missing for six days in total, during which time she says she was kept in a remote farmhouse until her alleged captor Lukasz Pawel Herba, 30, decided to release his victim at the British consulate after finding out she was a mother.

A chilling calling card is said to have been handed to a Brit by the kidnappers, with the note including an image of a Grim Reaper and the words “permanent solution”.

But questions have been raised after the model and her kidnapper were seen shoe shopping and casually eating breakfast at a cafe during the time Chloe said she was “fearing for her life” in captivity.

Witnesses who saw her with suspected abductor Lukasz Herba said they thought they were a couple.

One even claimed he had seen the pair laughing and joking together while visiting a cafe in Milan, Italy.

Chloe’s lawyer confirmed she went shopping for groceries and shoes with Polish-born Herba a day before she turned up at the British consulate, saying she’d been kidnapped.

Chloe’s lawyer has slammed “evil” claims she lied about being kidnapped and was in on a plot with her alleged abductor.

The 20-year-old was told people were watching her and she would be killed if she tried to flee, meaning she complied with what her captor asked her to do, her lawyer Francesco Pesce said.

 The 20-year-old model was drugged then stuffed inside a bag, as seen in this police reconstruction photo

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The 20-year-old model was drugged then stuffed inside a bag, as seen in this police reconstruction photo

Who is Lukasz Herba?

Polish-born Lukasz Herba, 30, was arrested on kidnapping and extortion charges.

The man had been living in Oldbury before the alleged abduction.

A woman who claimed to be his ex-girlfriend told the Birmingham Mail that Herba was “a real gentleman”.

She added: “He wouldn’t let me open a door for myself, he was always there to open it for me.”

She said that he had told her he ran an international firm making synthetic chicken food, and that he owned land in Scotland.

He also claimed that he was involved in the gold trade.

What is happening to Chloe’s alleged kidnappers?

Herba appeared in an Italian court for a pre-trial hearing.

On August 16, police arrested Lukasz Herba’s brother Michal Konrad Herba, 36. The pair share a home in Oldbury, West Midlands.

A lawyer representing Michal in an extradition hearing later claimed the whole case could be a “publicity stunt” in court.

Lawyer, George Hepburne Scott, raised questions over the account given by Ms Ayling adding: “There is a real risk that the entire case is a sham.”

Lorenzo Bucossi, of the Milan Flying Squad, said of Miss Al: “She has not suffered any kind of violence. She says she was not sexually assaulted or raped.

“The author of this very serious crime is a dangerous person, he was also ready to carry out a ‘final ­solution’, as he called it.”

She has told police how, on her first night in the mountain hideout, abductor Lukasz Herba handcuffed her to a chest of drawers.

But for her remaining nights in captivity near the French border, he slept beside her in a double bed.

A report by Italian authorities revealed sperm was found in the bed she shared with her abductor.

Chloe denied having sex with him, telling prosecutors: “I remember once that I was in the shower, he was looking at me and told me to stay in the shower because he couldn’t stand it anymore, he was at the limit and needed to masturbate”.

 Police say British-Polish Lukasz Herba tried to sell her online for £270,000

Police say British-Polish Lukasz Herba tried to sell her online for £270,000

Deputy prosecutor Paolo Storati described Herba as “a person affected by mythomania” – an abnormal or pathological tendency to exaggerate or tell lies.

It also emerged the alleged kidnapper also tried to sell a story to Britishs newspaper while holding Chloe captive.

Herba emailed the Daily Mirror and The Sun two days into the abduction – under the heading “British model kidnapped by Russian mafia”.

After his court appearance, Herba told police he had no idea of the kidnap plan when he was paid £500,000 by Romanians to pose as a photographer and meet Ms Ayling.

He said when he found out they were planning to kidnap her he backed out of the plan.

An Italian police source told the Mail Online: “During the first two days of questioning, neither Miss Ayling or Herba co-operated with the police.

“The pair may have been seen together on other occasions. We also cannot find any trace of the agency that allegedly lured her to the country for the photoshoot.”

On September 29, a judge has ruled that Michal Herba should be extradited to Italy to face trial.

Michal’s lawyers suggested the entire case may be a “sham” invented as a “publicity stunt” to boost Ms Ayling’s career.

But, at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, District Judge Paul Goldspring said the 36-year-old should be extradited to Italy to join his brother, Lukasz, to face allegations they kidnapped the model.

“I have decided you should be surrendered to Italy to face trial for the kidnap,” the judge told Herba.

What is the dark web?

The internet is actually made up of three different layers: the surface web, the deep web and the dark web.

The top layer, the surface web, are web pages that show up using search engines such as Google – like The Sun website that you’re looking at right now.

The deep web are web pages that search engines can’t access and are therefore hidden, accessed via passwords and authorisation.

Any time you log into an account you’re accessing deep web content that won’t show up on a search engine. For example, work intranets, password-protected areas of online banking and draft blog posts are all stored on the deep web.

 Users of the dark web access websites using special browsers and software

Getty Images
Users of the dark web access websites using special browsers and software

This means that if someone was to Google your name, your banking information or Amazon wishlist won’t show up in the results.

The dark web is a network of untraceable online activity and websites on the internet.

They cannot be found using search engines and to access them you need to use specific software, configurations or have authorisation. They are used by lots of different people to keep their web activity hidden.



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