An Italian court has convicted a Polish man of kidnapping a 20-year-old British model.
She was then told she would be auctioned off as a sex slave for £250,000. He said the model was drugged with ketamine, which knocked her out, then put inside a canvas bag and transported to a farmhouse, where she was handcuffed to the furniture for at least the first night.
Herba, 37, who lives in Sandwell, in the West Midlands, claimed the former Page 3 girl had approached him as she was "cash-strapped".
Evidence shown to the court featured the model leading police to the property where she was held, and the town where she went with Herba to buy shoes and food.
Ms Ayling's lawyer, Francesco Pesce, emphasised the importance of the verdict and said she was still considering possible civil action in British courts against media outlets that suggested she had lied to become famous.
The kidnappers told Ayling she would be auctioned online since she wasn't able to come up with the $353,000 ransom they demanded, she told investigators.
Her lawyer, Adrian Sington, said in a statement that his client felt "vindicated" by the verdict, the Telegraph UK reported.
"There were many cases in which she was publicly shamed about this", Pesce said.
While on trial in February in Italy, the court was shown CCTV footage of Ayling walking hand-in-hand with Herba the day before she was released.
He said: "I never hurt the girl".
Herba´s defence said that the model had organised the kidnapping with the Pole as a publicity stunt to boost her professional career.
When no money came through, he released her, hoping he would show some kind of fake "mercy" which would build her feelings for him.
Herba's brother, who also denies being involved, is in the process of being extradited to the United Kingdom on kidnapping charges.
Storari, in his closing arguments, noted that Herba had invested at least 10,000 euros (nearly $11,800) in the kidnapping, taking into account real estate rentals and travel. According to the Sun, Herba was also ordered to pay £60,000 damages to Chloe for what happened.
During closing arguments, his lawyer, Katia Kolakowska, cited an email she received from a US film producer, who pointed out that Ayling's story closely matches the plot of a movie titled "By Any Means", that was released about eight weeks before the 2017 kidnapping.
"This has been an incredible burden on her shoulders for the previous year in the face of media criticism of her motivation and this is vindication - her story is true", Ms Ayling's representative Adrian Sington said. He said it was unrealistic that Herba would have done so only to get ransom money through a young woman without any means. "It's hard if you're being painted in the press as a liar, and now she's able to say, "I know it's a freakish story, but it's a true one".