Man Had 'Real Intention' To Kidnap, Rape And Murder Holly Willoughby, Court Hears

The former This Morning left the daytime show in October 2023 after the kidnap plot first came to light.
Holly Willoughby
Holly Willoughby
Kieron McCarron/ITV/Shutterstock

This article contains discussions of violence and sexual assault.

A man plotted to kidnap, rape and murder TV personality Holly Willoughby, a court has heard.

In October 2023, it was first reported by The Sun that the former This Morning host was “under police guard” after “sinister” messages were found on a man’s phone reportedly threatening to “seriously harm” the daytime TV presenter.

He was later charged with soliciting to commit murder and incitement to commit kidnap, with the trial getting underway on Monday at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Prosecution Alison Morgan KC said that Gavin Plumb, a security guard from Harlow in Essex, had a serious and “real intention” to kidnap the daytime star from her home and take her to “a location where she would be raped repeatedly”, before murdering her.

Plumb has denied accusations of soliciting murder, inciting kidnap and inciting rape made against him.

“It was not just the ramblings of a fantasist; the defendant had carefully planned what he would do,” Morgan said.

The prosecution added that Plumb’s alleged plans only came to light after he shared them with an undercover police officer based in the US, with whom he’d been speaking online.

Morgan told the court: “The defendant explained his plans to kidnap, rape and murder the celebrity Holly Willoughby. The defendant set out his plans and sought to encourage the other person to commit those offences with him.

“The defendant’s plans as to what he would do to Holly Willoughby were graphic and were obviously sexually motivated. They were real to him, members of the jury, and were based on an obsession with Holly Willoughby that had developed over a number of years.”

Holly Willoughby at the National Television Awards in September 2023
Holly Willoughby at the National Television Awards in September 2023
Joe Maher via Getty Images

“What the defendant did not know then, was that the person that he was communicating with online was an undercover police officer based in the USA and not, in fact, a like-minded abductor,” she added.

“The defendant’s planning of the offences was then interrupted and he was arrested by the police.”

Plumb apparently described his plan as his “ultimate fantasy”, claiming: “I’m now at the point that fantasy isn’t enough anymore. I want the real thing.”

BBC News has reported that the trial is expected to continue for the next two weeks.

When details of the kidnap plot were first made public, it was reported that Holly was “under police guard at her home”.

She subsequently made the decision to step down from This Morning after 14 years at the helm, and took an extended break from the media spotlight.

Willoughby made her return to TV in January when she and new co-host Stephen Mulhern presented the latest series of Dancing On Ice.

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