Holly Willoughby kidnap suspect contacted US hitman to murder ITV star
A man accused of plotting to "kidnap" This Morning star Holly Willoughby allegedly reached out to a hitman in America to murder the ITV presenter, a court has heard.
Father of one Gavin Plumb, 36, appeared in the dock at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Friday (October 6) accused of soliciting to commit murder and incitement to commit kidnap. The former Pizza Hut and McDonald's worker allegedly contacted to a hitman in the US to kill the television presenter. Cops seized a mobile phone and electronic devices from his flat following his arrest on Wednesday (October 4).
Security guard Plumb spoke only to confirm his name and address before district judge Caroline Jackson. He was remanded in custody and will appear before the city's crown court on November 3. The investigation has moved incredibly quickly as officers prioritised the safeguarding of Holly.
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Plumb previously said he was unable to work as he couldn't get out of his flat, not leaving his home for at least four years from 2014. He once starred in a BBC feature on weight loss in 2018, where he wrote a diary after hitting 35 stone.
He claimed he only ever left his flat to go to the communal bins, but it is understood he is getting out more frequently recently. Plumb told the BBC back in 2017: "The last time I went out unaided was 2014 – it was my parents' wedding vow renewal.
"I only really go out my front door to put out a bin bag, in the bin just outside the flat, and that's every few days. Other than that, I don't leave my doorstep. I don't like sitting around and doing nothing."
Superintendent Tim Tubbs told The Sun: "This was an extremely fast paced investigation, with many of our officers working overnight to secure these charges. He added: "The safeguarding of any victim is paramount and we will continue to prioritise this as the investigation proceeds."
It comes after Holly was forced to pull out of hosting This Morning on Thursday (October 5) and was replaced by Alison Hammond. Viewers were surprised to see Alison with Josie Gibson without "prior warning". Holly was then under police guard at her home after the alleged plot was uncovered. Police informed Holly on Thursday shortly before she was due to go on air.
She opted to pull out of the show and Alison was called in as a last-minute replacement alongside Josie, who co-hosted the show with Holly. It has been claimed the suspect is unknown to Holly.
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ITV have provided around-the-clock security and support for Holly, alongside the police. Meanwhile, Holly's co-stars and fellow ITV presenters have been sending their love. Lorraine Kelly spoke of the incident on Friday's episode of her TV show and said it was "very, very upsetting". She added: "Of course we are sending Holly all of our love and best wishes, that is a terrible thing to be having to go through for her and her family."
This Morning, which rarely shares news on its feed, shared the news that a man had been arrested. Fans of the show and supports of Holly shared their well-wishes in the response. During Friday's episode, Holly's co-stars Alison and Dermot O'Leary addressed Holly's news.
Before getting started, Dermot told viewers: "We have to start with a story about one of our own," before explaining that a 36-year-old man had been arrested with plotting to kidnap Holly. The duo threw their support behind their co-star and friend as Alison added: "We're obviously all shocked to hear the news and we want to send our love and biggest hugs to Holly and her family."
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