The plot to kidnap Holly Willoughby

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British police bodycam screen grab of Gavin Plumb as he was arrested in connection with online plans to kidnap, rape and murder TV presenter Holly Willoughby. Photograph: Essex Police/PA

Security guard Gavin Plumb hatched an online plot to kidnap, rape and murder British TV personality Holly Willoughby. Yesterday he was found guilty of all charges.

His vile plans and years of obsession were uncovered when he tried to recruit a “crew” to help him. One was an Irish man called “Mark” - the other was an American policeman who saw in a dark chatroom what Plumb was writing online and considered him to be so dangerous - even though he had never heard of Willoughby - that he adopted a pseudonym so he could draw Plumb out. His clever ruse worked leading to the FBI contacting the British police.

Plumb (37) was arrested last October and at his trial at Chelmsford Crown Court over the past two weeks he faced charges of soliciting murder, incitement to rape and incitement to kidnap. He denied the charges saying it was just a fantasy. The jury disagreed. He will be sentenced on July 12th.

Ellis Whitehouse, a reporter with Essex Live, attended the trial and he tells In the News how the troubling case unfolded.


Presented by Bernice Harrison. Produced by Suzanne Brennan.

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison is an Irish Times journalist and cohost of In the News podcast