The British glamour model was kidnapped in Milan and held for six days in a remote farmhouse. Last month, her attacker was sentenced to more than 16 years. So why do people still doubt her?
What does the ideal kidnap victim look like? Nothing like Chloe Ayling, apparently. The glamour model made the headlines in August last year, when she walked into the British consulate in Milan and claimed she had just been released after six days of captivity. She had turned up for a modelling assignment in Milan, Ayling told officials, been injected with the tranquilliser ketamine, stuffed into a holdall bag and driven 120 miles in a car boot to a remote farmhouse near Turin. She said she had been gagged, was unconscious for much of the journey, and was later told she would be auctioned as a sex slave on the dark web for €300,000 (£265,000).
Ayling spent three weeks in Italy while police investigated, before returning home to Coulsdon in south London. Then 20 and a mother of one, she recounted her story to TV reporters in her mother’s front garden. Wearing hotpants and a low-cut top, she smiled, posed with her dog and seemed to enjoy the attention. “I feared for my life, second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour,” she said. But she might as well not, because the image – of a young woman basking in the spotlight – overpowered her words.