Wednesday, 24 July, 2024

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

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

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”.

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.

The defendant is on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, charged with soliciting a man, David Nelson, to commit murder, and encouraging or assisting kidnap and rape.

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

The court heard the defendant had told others online he had been sent to prison for offences of false imprisonment and kidnap to “bolster his credibility”.

His earlier offences were detailed to the court, which the prosecution argued “tell you that this defendant knew what it would take to terrify and overpower a woman.”

Prosecutor Alison Morgan KC told the court that Plumb, who jurors heard had previous convictions for attempting to kidnap women, had purchased items which would “assist him in carrying out the attack”.

She told jurors Plumb “commented on the appearance of women in a degrading manner” and outlined his past violence towards women – including tying the hands of a 16-year-old girl and attempted kidnaps on a train with the threat of a gun.

In her opening remarks to the jury on Monday, she said: “In October 2023, this defendant, Gavin Plumb, engaged in an online discussion with a person he believed to be called David Nelson.

“In that discussion, 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.”

Outlining how Plumb came to be arrested, Ms Morgan said: “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.

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

“The prosecution’s case is that the online discussions that this defendant had revealed his real intentions 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 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 that attack.”

Ms Morgan added: “It’s likely in this trial he will say this is all just fantasy.

“You will consider, is this the talk of a fantasist or is this someone who expresses himself with such dark depravity that it is clear that he meant what he said.”

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.

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

The trial, which is expected to last for two weeks, continues.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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