Holly Willoughby kidnap plot trial – live: Undercover officer worried ‘immediate danger’ faced TV presenter

Gavin Plumb is in court accused of a plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby (PA/Sourced)
Gavin Plumb is in court accused of a plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby (PA/Sourced)

An undercover officer was worried Holly Willoughby faced “immediate danger”, the trial of a man accused of a plot to abduct, rape and murder the TV presenter has heard.

Gavin Plumb, 37, is appearing at Chelmsford Crown Court this week after being charged in October with soliciting a man to commit murder, incitement to kidnap and incitement to rape.

It was revealed under cross-examination on Thursday that the US officer wrote in his police report that he believed Ms Willoughby, 43, “may be in immediate danger of death”.

He also confirmed to jurors that he wrote he thought the star may be at risk of being raped or suffering bodily harm.

The officer, who worked under the alias David Nelson, earlier said he felt there was an “imminent threat” to Ms Willoughby after seeing a message posted by Plumb in the online group ‘Abduct Lovers’.

The defendant is accused of creating a “detailed plan” to carry out his “ultimate fantasy” of targeting Ms Willoughby, including allegedly assembling a “kidnap and restraint kit” of metal cable ties, a knife and chloroform – a liquid drug used to stupefy victims.

Plumb, of Harlow, Essex, denies all charges.

Key Points

  • Officer felt there was ‘imminent threat’ after seeing messages from Plumb, court told

  • Gavin Plumb appears for day four of Chelmsford Crown Court trial

  • Plumb said attack was his ‘ultimate fantasy’ and shared deepfake images, court hears

  • Plumb knew how to ‘overpower a woman’, court hears as jurors told of previous real-life attacks

  • Plumb told undercover officer he’d abduct Ms Willoughby, ‘enjoy her’ then slit throat, court told

Court adjourned for day and resumes tomorrow morning

16:18 , Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Court has adjourned for the day.

The trial of Gavin Plumb resumes at 10.30am tomorrow. It has been confirmed that the defendant is set to give evidence then.

Plumb weighed 30 stone and had ‘limited mobility’, court hears

16:14 , Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Cross-examining DC Belsham, Ms Wass KC suggested at the time of his arrest Plumb weighed up to 30 stone and had limited mobility.

“…well there is no kind way of putting this he was enormous wasn’t he?” she asked the officer.

“In the region of 30 stone and his size and girth affected his mobility to an extent.

“It was difficult for him to move. He could move but he, it was difficult – he didn’t have a spring in his step.”

The officer said there was “not a spring in his [Plumb's] step but he could walk fine from the video I’ve seen”.

‘Chloroform’ found at Plumb’s address found to be ethanol and water, court hears

16:04 , Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

The jury was told that two bottles purporting to chloroform found in Plumb’s bedroom by police was found to be ethanol and water when tested.

Junior prosecution counsel Rosalind Earis, reading from a set of agreed facts, told jurors at Chelmsford Crown Court: “The bottles purporting to be chloroform found in Gavin Plumb’s bedroom were tested in a laboratory and found to contain ethanol and water. No chloroform was detected.

“The laboratory analyst noted that homeopathic liquids are typically prepared by the extreme dilution of the purported active ingredient using water and/ or ethanol, to the point where none of the active ingredient is detectable in tests.”

Re-examining Detective Constable William Belsham, the officer confirmed to prosecutor Ms Morgan KC the homeopathic website where it was purchased appeared to allow the selection of different concentrations.

Plumb was holding and using a phone at time of arrest, jurors told

15:57 , Tara Cobham

Gavin Plumb, who is accused over a plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby, was holding and using a mobile phone at the time of his arrest, a court heard.

Junior prosecution counsel Rosalind Earis told jurors that police “removed this from him” and Plumb refused to give the pin code for it, stating “you don’t need to know that now”.

She said, reading from a set of agreed facts, that he later provided the pin via his solicitors on November 7 last year.

The barrister said that, having heard that police would search his house, Plumb said: “I mean based on what you’ve said I can pretty much guess what you’re looking for.”

She said that Plumb later added: “As I said, it’s totally taken me by surprise. I know what it’s about, I can tell you, I reckon, I, I know what it’s about.”

The barrister said Plumb answered no comment to all questions in two police interviews after he was taken into custody.

Holly Willoughby was the focus of Gavin Plumb’s plot (PA Archive)
Holly Willoughby was the focus of Gavin Plumb’s plot (PA Archive)

Police found Plumb ‘sitting at living room desk’ during arrest raid, court hears

15:45 , Tara Cobham

Police forced entry to Gavin Plumb’s home in Harlow in Essex and found him “sitting at a desk in the living room”, a court heard.

Officers noted that Plumb “appeared shocked”, as they conducted the raid at 9.43pm on October 4 last year, junior prosecution counsel Rosalind Earis said.

Reading from a set of facts agreed between the prosecution and defence, Ms Earis told Chelmsford Crown Court that Plumb was arrested at 9.45pm on suspicion of conspiracy to kidnap.

When Plumb asked police who he was alleged to be planning to kidnap, officers told him the conspiracy related to Holly Willoughby.

Ms Earis said that at 9.46pm Gavin Plumb said: “I’m not gonna lie, she is a fantasy of mine.”

Teenage girls left ‘screaming and crying’ after Plumb threatened them with Stanley knife, jury told

15:10 , Tara Cobham

Details of Plumb’s previous convictions were read to the jury in a series of agreed facts.

The court heard that Plumb was handed a 12-month suspended sentence for attempting to kidnap two women from the Stansted Express in 2006.

He was later jailed for 32 months for false imprisonment for another attack on two teenage girls in 2008, in which he threatened them with a “box-cutter/Stanley knife-type instrument”.

Junior prosecuting counsel Rosalind Earis said: “He told them to “Turn around and put your hands behind your back”. He pulled out some blue rope from his pocket but, finding it tangled, retrieved some tape from his pocket and taped up the hands of one of the girls behind her back.

“As he was doing that, the other girl ran off and both girls managed to escape and raise the alarm. The entire incident lasted between 5 and 7 minutes.

“The girls described themselves as “shouting and screaming and crying.”

Officer believes Plumb’s alleged plot against Ms Willoughby was ‘credible’, jurors hear

14:53 , Tara Cobham

The undercover officer who discussed the alleged plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby with accused Gavin Plumb has said he believed it was a “credible plan” that would have been “carried out with or without my services”.

Questioned by defence barrister Sasha Wass KC over whether the defendant’s inability to drive and his weight, among other issues, caused the US officer to still believe the alleged plot was credible, the witness said: “Yes ma’am.

“When you take in the totality… I believe it was a credible plan and I believe this would have been carried out with or without my services.”

Undercover officer felt security guard was ‘imminent threat’ to Holly Willoughby

14:50 , Tara Cobham

An undercover officer who discussed the alleged rape, kidnap and murder of Holly Willoughby with a security guard online engaged with him as he felt there was an “imminent threat” to the TV star, a court heard.

The officer, who has been granted anonymity to protect his and his family’s safety and “his effectiveness as an undercover officer”, said he had to find out who Ms Willoughby was while speaking with Gavin Plumb.

The witness recalled being sent an image of what he described as an “abduction kit”, telling the Chelmsford Crown Court: “At that point in the conversation it was quite alarming.”

Josh Payne has the full report:

Undercover officer felt security guard was ‘imminent threat’ to Holly Willoughby

Officer tells court this was first time he had encountered subject who had bought chloroform

14:50 , Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Under re-examination by prosecutor Ms Morgan KC, the officer said: “This is the first time I have encountered this matter in which a subject has purchased a chemical to render a victim unconscious.”

He told the court: “He’s put a great detail of planning into this by having chemicals and a restraint kit. He said he had spoken to others….this was not an act he intended to carry out alone.”

He told the court Plumb had told him he planned to cut the star’s throat and dispose of her body after the alleged attack.

Officer said it could have ‘blown cover’ to challenge detail of alleged plot, court told

14:39 , Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Under cross examination, the undercover officer told Ms Wass KC that it could have blown his cover to question the details of Plumb’s alleged plot.

He later told the court: “I believe this to be a credible plan and I believe this would have been carried out with or without my services.”

Undercover officer tells court Plumb’s inabilty to drive ‘didn’t pose problem'

14:00 , Tara Cobham

The defence barrister for Gavin Plumb asked the US undercover police officer if “the fact (Plumb) didn’t drive caused [him] to re-evaluate the viability of this plan of his to kidnap a woman [Holly Willoughby] who had been rendered unconscious”.

The officer, using the alias David Nelson, told Chelmsford Crown Court in answer to the question from Sasha Wass KC: “I’m not privy to driving laws in London or the UK, but in the US it’s not uncommon for someone who doesn’t have a driving licence to drive a motor vehicle.”

He added: “I didn’t feel this posed a problem.”

Gavin Plumb appearing at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court last year (PA Archive)
Gavin Plumb appearing at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court last year (PA Archive)

Officer did not ‘re-evaluate’ credibility of plan to ‘jump wall’ in light of Plumb’s weight, court told

13:30 , Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Ms Wass KC brought up the issue of the defendant’s weight after the officer asked Plumb to send him a selfie.

The officer confirmed Plumb had told him he proposed to “jump the outer wall” of Ms Willoughby’s property as he relayed details of the alleged attack to the officer.

“Now knowing what he looked like and the state of his dimensions, did that plan and what was said about the plan of jumping the outer walls, did that cause you to re-evaluate the credibility of that plan?” she asked the witness.

“No I didn’t,” the officer replied.

Officer told court he would ‘rather err on side of caution’ when assessing threats

13:04 , Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

The officer insisted this was not the first investigation he had conducted in an undercover capacity under cross-examination from Ms Wass KC.

He confirmed he thought there was “credible information” about a possible home invasion.

“I would rather err on the side of caution and assume that this is a credible threat rather than just wash my hands and assume it’s a fantasy and not credible,” he told the court.

Officer wrote star ‘may be in immediate danger’ in police report, court hears

12:31 , Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Under cross-examination from Sasha Wass KC, defending, it was revealed the officer wrote in his report that he believed Ms Willoughby “may be in immediate danger of death”.

The officer also confirmed he wrote that he thought the star may be at risk of being raped or suffering bodily harm, the court heard.

At one point in the messages exchanged, he asked Plumb: “So you looking for help with this then?”

The officer told the court: “It was important to establish if this was a fantasy or if this was reality for BigBear at this point.”

Items showed to Chelmsford Crown Court in the court case of Gavin Plumb (Crown Prosecution Service/PA)
Items showed to Chelmsford Crown Court in the court case of Gavin Plumb (Crown Prosecution Service/PA)

Officer agreed in evidence he feared Plumb ‘must be approaching’ Holly Willoughby

12:15 , Tara Cobham

The US undercover officer using the pseudonym David Nelson agreed in evidence that he feared Gavin Plumb “must be approaching” Holly Willoughby.

Chelmsford Crown Court was told that the officer had seen an online post, by Plumb, stating that he had a “load of info” on Ms Willoughby including “when she does and doesn’t have security and that she doesn’t have CCTV at home”.

The officer had told the court he did not initially know who Ms Willoughby was.

Sasha Wass KC, for Plumb, said: “By saying he had this information about her you thought he must be approaching her, is that fair?” The officer replied: “Yes.”

The barrister continued: “Not simply obtaining information that was available freely online.” The officer said: “That was our understanding yes.”

He agreed that as a result of this, he “decided to take the conversation off the group chat and go directly one to one with him”.

US officer agreed in evidence he passed information about Plumb to FBI

12:12 , Tara Cobham

The US undercover officer using the name David Nelson agreed in evidence that he passed information about Gavin Plumb to the FBI.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan KC, asking questions at Chelmsford Crown Court, said that on 4 October last year there was a “meeting” with “representatives from the FBI”.

The officer replied “yes there was”, and also agreed that it involved contact with the Metropolitan Police.

Ms Morgan said: “And during the course of that liaison between the FBI and the Metropolitan Police were you providing up to date information from the chat you had had with the defendant?”

The officer replied: “Yes.”

He also agreed that the information was “being passed on effectively for authorities in the UK to deal with”.

Officer asked Plumb how far he lived from Ms Willoughby to figure out location, court hears

12:08 , Tara Cobham

The US undercover officer told jurors he asked Gavin Plumb how far it was from his place to where Holly Willoughby lived “to figure out where Mr Plumb was located”.

Giving evidence by video-link to Chelmsford Crown Court, the officer using the pseudonym David Nelson said: “I was seeking to figure out where Mr Plumb was located, where he lived”.

The court heard that Plumb sent the officer a screenshot of a Google map showing the route from Plumb’s address to Ms Willoughby’s.

The officer said he was “liaising with other authorities in the United States” at the time.

Gavin Plumb (right) in a white jumper sitting next to a police officer at Chelmsford Crown Court (PA Wire)
Gavin Plumb (right) in a white jumper sitting next to a police officer at Chelmsford Crown Court (PA Wire)

Plumb sent officer ‘alarming’ video of kidnap kit, jury told

11:51 , Tara Cobham

The officer asked Plumb a series of open-ended questions to “gather information” about the threat against Ms Willoughby, the court heard.

The undercover officer also sent a picture of a fake ID card and a screenshot of a flight itinerary to build trust with the defendant by showing he was willing to act as an accomplice.

At one point Plumb sent the officer a video of his ‘kidnap kit’ laid out on his bed – featuring handcuffs, cable ties and other restraints.

“At that point in the conversation it was quite alarming,” the officer told the jury.

Plumb later sent him a separate picture of a bottle of chloroform, the court heard.

The officer also told the trial that the defendant shared “what appeared to be the address” of the TV presenter with him online.

Questioned by prosecutor Alison Morgan KC at Chelmsford Crown Court, the US-based officer, using the alias David Nelson, agreed that Plumb also shared “information about the vehicle used by Ms Willoughby”.

Officer felt there was ‘imminent threat’ after seeing messages from Plumb, court told

11:37 , Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

David Nelson told the jury he felt there was an “imminent threat” after seeing a message posted by Plumb in the group under username “BigBear341987”, with a photo of Ms Willoughby as his profile picture.

“He identified that he had a “s***load” of information on her, that he knew when she got up in the morning as well as not having security cameras at her address,” he told the court.

“With him providing that information I felt that there was an imminent threat to this individual.”

Gavin Plumb posed an “imminent threat”, an undercover US officer told the jury (Crown Prosecution Service/PA Wire)
Gavin Plumb posed an “imminent threat”, an undercover US officer told the jury (Crown Prosecution Service/PA Wire)

Court told 50 members of ‘Abduct Lovers’ group active at any given time

11:27 , Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Giving evidence via video link, the undercover revealed he had infiltrated a group on the Kik messenger app called 'Abduct Lovers' using a false identity of David Nelson, which he had been using for three years.

“What’s discussed in that group is abduction, kidnapping and murder of other individuals,” he told the court, under questioning from prosecutor Alison Morgan KC.

“Upwards of 50 individuals could be active in that room at any given time.”

Undercover US officer’s identity will remain hidden to preserve effectiveness, jury told

11:22 , Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Mr Justice Murray has told the jury at Chelmsford Crown Court a US police officer will be known only as David Nelson in order to protect his identity.

The undercover officer is giving evidence behind screens via a link in the trial of Gavin Plumb, accused of plotting to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby.

He told jurors he is attached to the Owatonna Police Department in the US state of Minnesota.

The officer agreed with prosecutor Alison Morgan KC that one of his roles is to “engage in online investigations across various types of social media applications”.

He agreed that he assumes “various fake identities” as part of this work, and that the one used in this investigation had been “active for about three years” at the time.

He told the court that he looks for instances of human trafficking and kidnapping among other things, and that he came across Plumb on an online group called ‘Abduct Lovers’.

Gavin Plumb set to appear for day four of Chelmsford Crown Court trial

09:43 , Tara Cobham

An “obsessed” man accused of a plot to abduct, rape and murder Holly Willoughby is set to appear in court for day four of his trial.

Gavin Plumb, 37, is due to appear again at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday after being charged in October with soliciting a man to commit murder, incitement to kidnap and incitement to rape the TV presenter.

Why can we identify Ms Willoughby?

Tuesday 25 June 2024 10:28 , Alex Ross

Ms Willoughby has waived her right to anonymity in connection with an accusation against Plumb of assisting or encouraging rape.

Alleged victims of sex offences or targets of sex offence conspiracies have a right to automatic anonymity for life from the moment an allegation is made by them or anyone else.

Ms Willoughby, 43, announced in October last year that she was stepping down from This Morning after 14 years on the ITV show.

She said in a social media post at the time that she felt “I have to make this decision for me and my family”.

The presenter has since hosted Dancing On Ice 2024 and will present a Netflix show, to be released next year, in which adventurer Bear Grylls hunts down celebrities in the jungle.

Holly Willoughby is the alleged victim of a kidnap, rape and murder plot (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)
Holly Willoughby is the alleged victim of a kidnap, rape and murder plot (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

What happened yesterday

Tuesday 25 June 2024 10:16 , Andre Langlois

After the jury was sworn in, prosecutor Alison Morgan KC opened the case against Gavin Plumb for the Crown Prosecution Service at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Plumb, a shopping centre security officer, was accused of hatching a plot to kidnap, rape and solicit the murder of the star. It’s was also alleged that he considered trying to get employment as her security guard to get close to her.

Ms Morgan said:

  • Plumb has past convictions including the attempted kidnap of a women on a train with the threat of a gun

  • Plumb hatched “graphic” plans to kidnap, rape and murder Ms Willoughby with an undercover police officer from the US

  • The plans involved attempting to “ambush” the presenter at her family home

  • Plumb had accumulated “many hundreds” of images of Ms Willoughby that he had accessed online

Plumb, of Harlow, Essex, denies all the charges.

Day two of the trial

Tuesday 25 June 2024 08:13 , Alex Ross

Good morning,

Live updates from court will resume in just over two hours when the court sits again.

Gavin Plumb is accused of plotting to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby.

The shopping centre security officer, of Potters Field, Harlow, will appear at Chelmsford Crown Court shortly.

We will resume live updates when court sits again at 10.30am tomorrow

Monday 24 June 2024 17:02 , Tara Cobham

We are pausing our blog and will be resuming live updates when court sits again at 10.30am tomorrow.

Please follow The Independent’s homepage for all the latest in the meantime.

Full story: Holly Willoughby ‘obsessed’ man made kidnap kit with knife, handcuffs and chloroform, court told

Monday 24 June 2024 16:50 , Tara Cobham

An “obsessed” security guard who purchased a ‘kidnap kit’ and chloroform to abduct, rape and murder Holly Willoughby knew how to “terrify and overpower a woman”, a court heard.

Gavin Plumb, 37, had previously attacked women using both a knife and an imitation firearm before he formulated a detailed plan to kidnap and kill the television personality in a home invasion.

A trial heard it was his “ultimate fantasy” to target Ms Willoughby, 43, and he had purchased metal cable ties, a knife and chloroform – a liquid drug used to stupefy victims – in preparation for an alleged attack.

Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin has the full story from Chelmsford Crown Court:

Holly Willoughby ‘obsessed’ man made kidnap kit with knife and handcuffs, court told

Court adjourns for day

Monday 24 June 2024 16:33 , Tara Cobham

Court has adjourned for the day at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The trial of Gavin Plumb will continue at 10.30am tomorrow.

Kidnap plans – which involved ‘catastrophic violence’ - were interrupted by arrest, court told

Monday 24 June 2024 15:44 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Ms Morgan KC told Chelmsford Crown Court: “The defendant’s planning of these offences was interrupted by his arrest. He never got to the point of encountering Holly Willoughby.

“She did not meet him and the offences that the Prosecution alleges against this defendant, which if carried out would have involved catastrophic violence against her, were disrupted.”

When arrested, jurors told Plumb said: ‘I’m not gonna lie. She’s a fantasy of mine.’

Monday 24 June 2024 15:42 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

The defendant was arrested on 4 October last year after the undercover US officer alerted the FBI and the Metropolitan Police.

He was shocked when police arrived at his home in Harlow, Essex, the court heard.

When the charges were explained to him, he responded: “I’m not gonna lie. She is a fantasy of mine.”

Plumb had 10,322 images of Holly Willoughby on his phone, court hears

Monday 24 June 2024 15:30 , Tara Cobham

Police who analysed Gavin Plumb’s mobile phone found that he had 10,322 images of Holly Willoughby in a folder called “Holly”, a court heard.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan KC told Chelmsford Crown Court: “There was a folder in fact on the defendant’s telephone which was called ‘Holly’ and it contained 10,322 images of Holly Willoughby.”

She said that officers explained to Plumb that charges related to a conspiracy to kidnap Ms Willoughby and he responded: “I’m not gonna lie. She is a fantasy of mine.”

Gavin Plumb appearing at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court last year (PA Archive)
Gavin Plumb appearing at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court last year (PA Archive)

Defendant shared video of ‘kit’ including shackles, ball gag and cable ties, court told

Monday 24 June 2024 15:22 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Plumb shared a video with an undercover police officer of his “kit” laid out on a bed.

Alison Morgan KC told the court the footage showed equipment including hand and ankle shackles, a ball gag, rope, metal cable ties and handcuffs.

These items would later be found at the defendant’s home address, the jury was told.

Plumb bragged about his previous crimes against women, court told

Monday 24 June 2024 15:17 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Chelmsford Crown Court heard that the security guard bragged about his previous convictions against women to an undercover officer online.

Plumb told the officer he had held two women against their will at a warehouse in a bid to bolster his credibility.

“I got 16 months. Our justice system is s*** tbh,” he told the officer.

Security guard planned to take Holly Willoughby to ‘dungeon’, court told

Monday 24 June 2024 15:16 , Tara Cobham

A shopping centre security officer planned to kidnap TV presenter Holly Willoughby and take her to a “dungeon” where her “screams can’t be heard for miles”, a court heard.

Gavin Plumb is accused of hatching a plot to kidnap, rape and solicit the murder of the star, and allegedly considered trying to get employment as her security guard to get close to her.

A court heard that the 37-year-old described it as his “ultimately fantasy” to kidnap Ms Willoughby, adding: “Fantasy isn’t enough anymore. I want the real thing.”

Josh Payne reports:

Security guard planned to take Holly Willoughby to ‘dungeon’, court told

Plumb told undercover officer he’d abduct Ms Willoughby, ‘enjoy her’ then slit throat, court told

Monday 24 June 2024 15:07 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Jurors heard details of Plumb’s messages with an undercover US officer, who had been monitoring conversations in an online forum.

He told the officer, who specialised in investigating murder for hire, kidnap and human trafficking, that he would use the chloroform on Ms Willoughby and her husband in a home invasion, the court heard.

“Tie both up. Take her. Leave him then it’s take to where she’s being kept and enjoy her,” Ms Morgan recounted to the court.

Afterwards, he said he would “slit her throat” and dispose of her body, the court heard.

Plumb posted about Holly Willoughby in online group called ‘abduct lovers’, court hears

Monday 24 June 2024 14:57 , Tara Cobham

Gavin Plumb came to the attention of an undercover police officer based within the Owatonna Police Department in Minnesota when he was posting in an online group called “abduct lovers”, a court heard.

Alison Morgan KC said the officer, using the name David Nelson, was monitoring exchanges on the group focused in particular on discussions relating to murder for hire, kidnapping, abduction, rape and human trafficking.

She told Chelmsford Crown Court that Plumb, using the identity “BigBear”, posted a photo of Holly Willoughby – though the officer did not initially know who she was.

Ms Morgan said Plumb “posted photographs of a white female – the officer in the US didn’t recognise who this white female was – female with blonde hair, standing in front of a prize wheel.

“It was obviously a picture of Holly Willoughby, not immediately recognised by the undercover officer.”

She said Plumb said he had a “load of info on her – I know when she does and don’t have security and that she doesn’t have CCTV at home. What time she gets up in the morning”.

Security guard spoke of ‘ultimate fantasy’ to kidnap and rape Holly Willoughby

Monday 24 June 2024 14:52 , Tara Cobham

A shopping centre security officer said “restraining and getting” TV presenter Holly Willoughby was his “ultimate fantasy for way too long”, a court has heard.

Gavin Plumb, who is alleged to have developed an obsession with the star over a number of years, is accused of telling others online that “fantasy isn’t enough anymore. I want the real thing.”

Chelmsford Crown Court was told the 37-year-old had boasted of his previous convictions and jail time for false imprisonment and attempted kidnap in order to “bolster his credibility”.

Josh Payne reports:

Security guard spoke of ‘ultimate fantasy’ to kidnap and rape Holly Willoughby

Plumb purchased liquid he believed to be chloroform, court told

Monday 24 June 2024 14:51 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Ms Morgan told the jury that Plumb had researched chloroform – a chemical which can be used to incapacitate people.

Officers later found two bottles of what he believed to be chloroform at his address, the court heard.

Defendant set out alleged abduction plans in voice note played to court

Monday 24 June 2024 14:47 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Jurors were played a voice note, dating from March 2023, in which he detailed his alleged plans to use a chloroform – a chemical used to stupefy victims – to subdue Ms Willoughby and her husband.

In the note, played at Chelmsford Crown Court, he said: “Right er plan of action I’ll give you a brief rundown, basically we’re gonna hit, hit it at night er less traffic on the road etcetera. Erm Chloroform both of them that way then they can both be easily restrained.

“Pick out outfits of hers that we like and then obviously take her and the outfits with us and then we’re gone.”

He also outlined plans to force her to record a video in which she says she is “fully consenting” in order to “cover us”, the court heard.

Plumb said Holly Willoughby would be ‘obedient’ to protect her children, court told

Monday 24 June 2024 14:43 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Discussing his plans, Plumb suggested using the metal cable ties to restrain Ms Willoughby’s husband during the alleged attack, while she would be restrained with handcuffs, Ms Morgan said.

He also suggested that Ms Willoughby’s desire to protect her children would be an “extra reason for her to be obedient,” the court heard.

Plumb discussed getting a job with Holly Willoughby, court told

Monday 24 June 2024 14:27 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Gavin Plumb considered using his training as a security guard to get a job working for Holly Willoughby, the court heard.

In online discussions he also considered going for a tour of the ITV studios in order to “get close” to the presenter, Alison Morgan KC told the jury.

Holly Willoughby accused attempted to kidnap women in the past, court told

Monday 24 June 2024 14:21 , Tara Cobham

A shopping centre security officer on trial over a plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby had made failed kidnap attempts before, a court has heard.

Chelmsford Crown Court was told that Gavin Plumb had tied a 16-year-old girl’s hands up with rope and tape, and had attempted to force two different women off a train with him with the threat of a gun.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan KC said each of the attempts was thwarted, with one woman crying in terror.

Josh Payne reports:

Holly Willoughby accused attempted to kidnap women in the past, court told

In pictures: Gavin Plumb appears at Chelmsford Crown Court today

Monday 24 June 2024 14:18 , Tara Cobham

Gavin Plumb (right) who allegedly plotted to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby (Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire)
Gavin Plumb (right) who allegedly plotted to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby (Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire)

Full story: Holly Willoughby ‘obsessed’ security guard bought restraint kit to abduct, rape and murder her, court told

Monday 24 June 2024 14:08 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

An “obsessed” security guard who purchased a restraint kit to abduct, rape and murder Holly Willoughby knew how to “terrify and overpower a woman”, a court heard.

Gavin Plumb, 37, had previously attacked women using both a knife and an imitation firearm before he allegedly formulated a detailed plan to abuse and kill the television personality in a home invasion.

A trial heard it was his “ultimate fantasy” to target Ms Willoughby, 43, and he had purchased metal cable ties as he discussed the alleged attack.

Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin reports from Chelmsford Crown Court:

‘Obsessed’ man had restraint kit in plot to kidnap Holly Willoughby, court told

‘Obsessed’ security guard on trial for Holly Willoughby rape and murder plans

Monday 24 June 2024 13:45 , Tara Cobham

A shopping centre security officer unwittingly hatched “graphic” plans to kidnap, rape and murder TV presenter Holly Willoughby with an undercover police officer, a court has heard.

Gavin Plumb, 37, is alleged to have developed an “obsession” with the star over a number of years, leading him to plan to kidnap her from her family home.

Jurors heard he had accumulated “many hundreds” of images of Ms Willoughby which he had accessed online, and his “obsessive behaviour extended to other celebrities and to women who lived in his local area”.

Josh Payne reports:

‘Obsessed’ security guard on trial for Holly Willoughby rape and murder plans

Plumb purchased ‘heavy duty’ metal cable ties, court hears

Monday 24 June 2024 13:16 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Jurors were told that Plumb was a member of various online groups that had a “preoccupation with abduction and kidnapping”.

In April 2022, he purchased 400 metal cable ties from Amazon, which were described as “heavy duty”, Ms Morgan told the court.

Plumb said attack was his ‘ultimate fantasy’ and shared deepfake images, court hears

Monday 24 June 2024 13:00 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Alison Morgan KC told the jury that Plumb had told another online user called ‘Marc’ his plans.

“The defendant emphasises to Marc that this wasn’t just a fantasy,” she told Chelmsford Crown Court.

Plumb told the user: “I have wanted this for years. I am going to be living out my ultimate fantasy.”

He also said: “It’s been my ultimate fantasy for way too long. Fantasy isn’t enough any more. I want the real thing.”

The pair also exchanged “highly sexualised” deepfake pornographic images of the star, she told the jury.

The barrister said these were “using her (Ms Willoughby’s) face, putting it onto the body of another female to give images of her in pornographic situations”.

Gavin Plumb is standing trial at Chelmsford Crown Court (PA Archive)
Gavin Plumb is standing trial at Chelmsford Crown Court (PA Archive)

Plumb knew how to ‘overpower a woman’, court hears as jurors told of previous real-life attacks

Monday 24 June 2024 12:32 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Plumb, 37, had previously attacked women using both a knife and an imitation firearm, the trial heard.

Jurors at Chelmsford Crown Court were told how Plumb had tried to abduct women from a train on two occasions in 2006 – once using a fake gun to try to force his victim to comply.

He later held two teenage girls at knifepoint in a shop stockroom in 2008. He was tying one girl’s hands behind her back with ropes when the other escaped and raised the alarm.

“These were real offences, committed against real women, involving this defendant threatening them and trying to control and detain them,” Ms Morgan KC told the court.

“He had an imitation firearm. He had ropes, he had tape. He had bound the hands of one of the victims.

“When you consider the discussions about Holly Willoughby and what this defendant planned to do to her, you will do so in the context of those earlier offences.

“They tell you that this defendant knew what it would take to terrify and overpower a woman. He was also someone who had chosen to do this for real, not just as a fantasy.”

Plumb’s online discussions ‘not just ramblings of fantasist’, prosecutor tells jurors

Monday 24 June 2024 12:28 , Tara Cobham

Gavin Plumb’s online discussions were “not just the ramblings of a fantasist”, said prosecutor Alison Morgan KC.

She told Chelmsford Crown Court: “The prosecution’s case is that the online discussions that this defendant had revealed his real intention to carry out a plot to kidnap Holly Willoughby from her family home, to take her to a location where she would be raped repeatedly, before the defendant then intended to kill her.

“It’s not just the ramblings of a fantasist.

“This defendant had carefully planned what he would do and how he would do it, purchasing items that would assist him in carrying out that attack.”

Plumb revealed ‘real intention’ to target star to undercover US police officer online

Monday 24 June 2024 12:23 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

The court heard how Plumb unwittingly explained his plans to kidnap, rape and murder Ms Willoughby – who has waived her right to anonymity – in an online discussion with an undercover officer using the pseudonym David Nelson.

He tried to encourage the officer to commit the offences with him, the court heard.

“The prosecution’s case is that this defendant’s online discussions reveal his real intention to carry out a plot to kidnap Holly Willoughby from her family home; to take her to a location where she would be raped repeatedly, before the defendant then intended to kill her,” Ms Morgan told the court.

“It was not just the ramblings of a fantasist. The defendant had carefully planned what he would do and how he would do it, purchasing items that would assist him in carrying out the attack.”

Holly Willoughby has waived her right to anonymity (Scott Garfitt/Shutterstock for NTA)
Holly Willoughby has waived her right to anonymity (Scott Garfitt/Shutterstock for NTA)

Gavin Plumb had been obsessed with Holly Willoughby for several years

Monday 24 June 2024 12:15 , Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

Opening the trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, Alison Morgan KC alleged the security guard had been obsessed with the celebrity for years.

She told the jury: “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 and were based on an obsession with Ms Willoughby that had developed over a number of years.”

Man goes on trial accused of plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby

Monday 24 June 2024 12:14 , Tara Cobham

A man has gone on trial accused of a plot to kidnap, rape and murder the TV presenter Holly Willoughby.

Prosecutor Alison Morgan KC said Gavin Plumb “engaged in online discussions” with a person he thought was called David Nelson, who unbeknownst to him was an “undercover police officer based in the USA and not, in fact, a like-minded abductor”.

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

Ms Willoughby has waived her right to anonymity in relation to the incitement to rape allegation.

Plumb, 37, of Harlow, Essex, denies soliciting murder, incitement to kidnap and incitement to rape and is on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Jury has been sworn in and prosecution’s opening begins

Monday 24 June 2024 12:08 , Crime correspondent Amy-Clare Martin at Chelmsford Crown Court

The jury has been sworn in in the trial of Gavin Plumb at Chelmsford Crown Court today.

Alison Morgan KC has begun to deliver the prosecution’s opening to the court.

Rishi Sunak sent well wishes to Holly Willoughby in wake of news of alleged kidnap plot

Monday 24 June 2024 11:45 , Tara Cobham

Rishi Sunak sent well wishes to Holly Willoughby on This Morning in the wake of the news of the alleged kidnap plot.

The prime minister said in October: “I’m so sorry to hear everything going on with Holly, I just want to send my best to her and her family.”

Holly Willoughby said to be ‘shocked and distraught’ at time of learning of alleged plot

Monday 24 June 2024 11:11 , Tara Cobham

Holly Willoughby was said to have been left “shocked and distraught” after learning of the alleged plot.

At the time, The Sun reported a police guard was placed outside the TV presenter’s London home, where she lives with her husband – TV producer Dan Baldwin – and their three children.

Alison Hammond’s message of support for colleague when Plumb was charged

Monday 24 June 2024 10:33 , Tara Cobham

Fellow This Morning co-hosts Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary shared a touching message in support of their colleague Holly Willoughby on the day Gavin Plumb was charged.

Ms Hammond said while on air: “We are obviously all shocked to hear the news and we want to send our love and biggest hugs to Holly and her family.”

Fellow ‘This Morning’ co-host Alison Hammond shared a touching message in support of her colleague Holly Willoughby (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)
Fellow ‘This Morning’ co-host Alison Hammond shared a touching message in support of her colleague Holly Willoughby (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Holly Willoughby announced exit from This Morning in days after Gavin Plumb charged

Monday 24 June 2024 09:49 , Tara Cobham

Holly Willoughby announced that she was stepping down from This Morning in the days after Gavin Plumb was charged in October.

Following 14 years on the ITV show, Ms Willoughby, 43, said in a social media post on 10 October that she felt: “I have to make this decision for me and my family.”

Four days before, Plumb had been charged with soliciting to commit murder and incitement to commit kidnap.

The TV presenter did not refer directly to the alleged incident in her statement.

She has since hosted Dancing on Ice 2024, and is to present a Netflix show – to be released next year – in which adventurer Bear Grylls hunts down celebrities in the jungle.

Holly Willoughby with her former ‘This Morning’ co-host Phillip Schofield (ITV)
Holly Willoughby with her former ‘This Morning’ co-host Phillip Schofield (ITV)

Man to stand trial accused of plot to kidnap and murder Holly Willoughby

Monday 24 June 2024 09:34 , Tara Cobham

A shopping centre security officer is to stand trial accused of a plot to kidnap and murder TV presenter Holly Willoughby.

Gavin Plumb is charged with soliciting a man – David Nelson – to commit murder, and incitement to commit kidnap.

The 37-year-old is accused of planning to assemble a “kidnap and restraint kit” and encouraging a third party to travel to the UK to carry out the alleged offences.

He is alleged to have conspired online with another man, who was to travel to the UK from the US, and created a “detailed plan” to carry out the offences.

Plumb, of Harlow, Essex, denied all charges at an earlier hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court.

He is due to stand trial at the same court from today, with the hearing estimated to last about two weeks.

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