After being found by Italian police, he was shackled, shellshocked, and had one arm tied to a step-ladder. 

He carries a mobile phone that the carabinieri gave to him so he could notify his family. 

The exclusive police photo was taken in the first-floor apartment in Monte San Giusto, central Italy. Mr Demilecamps, 25 years old, claimed that he was held captive for eight days by a gang and fed him ‘leftovers as a dog’. 

Sam Demilecamps, 25, said he was held captive for eight days in Monte San Giusto, central Italy, by a gang who, he claimed, beat and tortured him, and fed him ‘leftovers like a dog’

Sam Demilecamps, 25, claimed that he was held captive by a gang for eight days in Monte San Giusto (central Italy) by a gang which, he claimed beat and tortured and fed him leftovers like dogs’

His alleged ordeal was brought to light by a desperate text message he sent to his father. He alerted the authorities. 

The message stated, “I owe money too very dangerous people.” ‘This is matter of life and death — if I don’t get 7,000 euros (£6,000) I’m dead tomorrow.’ 

Friends received similar desperate messages and raised the alarm. Italian law enforcement, working in conjunction with the National Crime Agency (NCA), traced the phone signal to the flat in Monte San Giusto. 

Within 36 hours of being contacted personally by Mr Demilecamps’s friends and family, a team from the special operations division of the carabinieri raided the property. 

Three young men were arrested and charged with ‘kidnapping for extortion’. 

A statement by Mr Demilecamps, who was educated at £36,000-a-year Hampshire boarding school Lord Wandsworth College, was submitted to the judge. 

Sam Demilecamps when police broke-in to the apartment. Mr Demilecamps, 25, was found malnourished and chained to a radiator after he phoned his estranged father saying he needed £6,000

Sam Demilecamps was present when police broke into the apartment. Mr Demilecamps, 25, was found malnourished and chained to a radiator after he phoned his estranged father saying he needed £6,000

Mr. Demilecamps related how he was kidnapped from Florence’s Park, where he was staying at a hostel. He was then bundled into a vehicle, driven more than 200 kilometres south to Monte San Giusto. 

He said that his captors had seen me spend lavishly. They kicked and punched my head, then used a pepper spray and a taser on me. Finally, they dragged me into a car with tranquillisers. They drove me up to Monte San Giusto. I was held under­water in a bath and beaten.’

This sounds like a terrible ordeal. Now that Sam Demilecamps has been released from safety and his captors are under house arrest, awaiting their day in court. troubling questions are emerging that cast doubt on Sam’s version of events. 

Onlookers are left wondering if he was really tortured and kidnapped. Or, could he have exaggerated his ‘kidnap plot’ to extort cash from his wealthy parents, as his ‘captors claim? 

We have examined the various accounts after extensive inquiries by Mail in Britain and Italy. 

And what we have learned has left even some members of Sam ­Demilecamps’s own family are sceptical about his story. 

According to some, he knew his kidnappers’. Their lawyer said that they were friends and more than that. He also owed them money, it appears — money he couldn’t repay, despite his privileged upbringing.

Sam Demilechamps mother Jally McCall and her husband Derek, the managing director of a biotechnology company, live in a £2.5 million home in Hampshire

Sam Demilechamps mother Jally McCall and her husband Derek, the managing director of a biotechnology company, live in a £2.5 million home in Hampshire

These facts cast a very different complexion on the ‘kidnap’ plot that made headlines here and in Italy. Sam ­Demilecamps — whose parents divorced when he was young and have now remarried — is certainly from well-to-do background. 

His mother and stepfather, the managing director of a biotechnology company, live in a £2.5 million home in Hampshire.  His father is an ex-investment banker who lived in Brussels but used to live in England. 

The police in Italy asked the following question at the beginning: Why was the ransom demand so low, given the background of the victim? 

Mr Demilecamps had been in Italy since June, visiting Naples, Sorrento, Bologna and Florence, before arriving on the Adriatic coast in July, where he is said to have met the four: Rubens Beliga Gnaga, 18, Ahmed Rajraji, 21, Dona Conte, 22, and his girlfriend, Aurora ­Carpani, 20. 

Given their ages — Gnaga is still a teenager — they don’t fit the stereotype of ruthless Mafioso-type kidnappers. 

A video filmed by Rajraji on his mobile phone — unearthed during our research, and showing Mr Demilecamps diving off rocks into a river near the rest of the group — would seem to confirm that they all knew each other. 

Aurora Carpani, 20, is one of the group of four arrested over the kidnapping of the Briton

Aurora Carpani (20 years old) is one of four people arrested in connection to the kidnapping and kidnapping the Briton

Rajraji can be heard telling Mr Demilecamps, “You see, you can swim.” 

The lawyers representing the defendants, all of whom are unemployed and who live between Monte San Giusto, Montegraro and the nearby town, have similar videos, photographs, and other evidence. 

‘We have many photographs and videos shot by our clients showing them being friendly with Sam, going out together, at the beach, swimming,’ attorney Vando Scheggia — who is representing Rajraji — said this week. 

“They hung out in the summer.” 

Nor is it ‘clear’, he pointed out, when the scratches and bruises on Mr Demilecamps — highlighted in another police photograph — were inflicted. 

Speaking on behalf the legal team, Mr Scheggia asked about the motive behind the kidnap. He said that Mr Demilecamps became a target because he had spent a lot of money. 

“Sam bristled about his family’s wealth to the people he met while in Italy, but he slept at hostels and traveled by bus,” said Mr Scheggia. 

“He was broke. He didn’t have any money, and his credit card was either blocked or not working. 

Last year, he offered his ­Harley-Davidson motorbike for sale online for £6,000 — a similar sum to the ‘ransom’. 

He wrote that he was selling the property because he needed the money. Before embarking on his travels abroad, Mr ­Demilecamps worked as a chef in Brighton, where he is known to have borrowed money from at least one friend. 

It’s a habit that continued in Italy and eventually culminated, according to Mr Scheggia, in the international drama which unfolded in Monte San Giusto earlier this month when the carabinieri, working with the NCA’s Anti Kidnap and Extortion Unit, surrounded the flat where Mr ­Demilecamps said he was being held hostage. 

The apartment was not the most obvious place to hide a kidnap victim. Gnaga’s father was a truck driver and allowed his son and friends to use the apartment when he was not there. 

“He [Mr Demilecamps]Scheggia insists that he was there voluntarily. 

“It isn’t true that the man was tortured and beaten there. They shared meals. He [Mr Demilecamps]Even cooked for them. He wasn’t allowed to eat leftovers ‘like an animal’, as he stated.

Scheggia admitted that he owed the money. He claimed that Mr Demilecamps was willing to stay in the apartment while he tried to get the money to repay them. This, essentially is Rubens’s statement to Court. 

Did drugs play a role? Scheggia believes that drugs may have been involved. Mr. Scheggia believes there may have been. [cannabis]Friend’ and Daily Dope. 

A neighbor in Brighton claimed that loud parties where drug use was rampant were held in the apartment where Mr Demilecamps lived. This is right next to the White Rabbit pub. 

At the apartment in Monte San Giusto, meanwhile, Mr Demilecamps began appealing to friends in Sussex to wire him the money he owed, around 7,000 euros (£6,000). 

One person, who requested anonymity, received a torrent of WhatsApp messages and calls over the course of several days. 

He said that he has known Sam for several years since meeting him through friends.  ‘I’ve lent him money twice before — a few hundred quid — and he paid it back. 

“He called me from Italy, and he sounded distressed. He said he was being held against all his will, was being controlled, and that I could help him because he was in such terrible danger. 

“I was skeptical. He had always paid me back so I offered 300 euros. He said he needed more than that — thousands — but I told him I was not in a position to send him that much.’

Rubens Ganaga received 300 euros. Would a kidnapper give Sam Demilecamps information about his bank account in order to pay the ransom? 

Sam’s exact location was revealed in the last WhatsApp message he sent to him. 

It read: “Forward this message to the police and my mom, anyone who is able to help. This is where you are being held hostage. I don’t really have the time. 

Aren’t kidnappers able to take Sam Demilecamps’s mobile phone when they kidnap him? According to the friend, he called the police and spoke with officers from the Metropolitan police. 

Mr Demilecamps’s stepfather Derek McCall, 61 and his mother Jalaleh 60, also known as Jally received the same kind messages as Patrick. 

Some messages showed Mr Demilecamps in handcuffs, Mr Scheggia said, but he added that Sam would have the others handcuff him if he asked for money so they could see him in that condition.

Is he ever held against him? According to Mr Scheggia, only briefly at the end did Mr Demilecamps think about leaving, but without paying his debts. 

He was then handcuffed to the step-­ladder, he said. The police had already traced his mobile signal and he was released the next day. 

So the photograph of a shackled Mr Demilecamps — published for the first time today — is genuine. 

Scheggia insists that Demilecamps was not tasered or tranquillised and tortured. He was never abducted from a park near Florence. 

Marco Fabiani (a colleague of Mr Scheggia) said that he had been initially part the defence team. He added: ‘The children just wanted their money back and that he was attached a stepladder that allowed him to move around. He could have screamed. But he didn’t — why?’ 

The elderly lady who lives above the apartment didn’t hear anything suspicious. 

She said that she often saw Gnaga walking and going. He and his friends were all nice boys. 

“During the summer they made a lot noise, music, parties till late and there was always lots of people talking and taking photos on the balcony. It was almost silent during those days of ‘kidnap’. 

Whatever the truth, all four suspects have paid a heavy price because of their involvement in Sam Demilecamps. 

They are currently in house arrest. This could last up to four months. 

New judges may be able to reduce the charges. He could also be summoned to trial if he gave false information to police. 

If the charges are not dropped, kidnapping with the intent to extort can result in a sentence of up 30 years imprisonment. 

It’s not the first time that Mr Demilecamps, a self-described ‘adrenaline junkie,’ has been in the news. 

After jumping 180ft from Taormina’s Sicily cliff, he fractured his vertebra. He was airlifted by helicopter to the hospital. 

A police spokesperson said that he was either very brave or very dumb, but that he was fortunate to survive. 

Staff at the White Rabbit pub opposite his Brighton home are not fondly remembering him. He was once barred from the premises for his ‘obnoxious’ behavior. 

It is believed that Mr Demilecamps has returned to Britain. His stepfather, and mother, declined to discuss the “kidnap”. 

However, a source close by the family said that it seemed the situation wasn’t quite as it appeared. . . We all know about Sam’s cliff jumping. This is his personality. He also spends money he doesn’t have. 

Patrick Demilecamps, his father, said that he didn’t have anything to add to the information already known. 

According to a family source, Mr Demilecamps was questioned by police after his son was released. He was asked if he could pay for Mr Demilecamps to be accommodated in a hotel for a few night. 

Sam understood that he had put the phone down after speaking to his son. 

You may have come to your own conclusions after reading this article.

Additional reporting: TIM STEWART