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Holly Willoughby’s stalker trial: all the revelations from day one

The former This Morning star’s stalker is on trial


Holly Willoughby stalker trial
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
Updated: June 24, 2024
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Holly Willoughby's stalker trial begins today

Holly Willoughby’s life was thoroughly shaken back in 2023 after it emerged that the former This Morning presenter was at the centre of a kidnap, rape and murder plot. 

Gavin Plumb has been accused of the crimes, and will be tried at the Chelmsford Crown Court in Essex - join here for all of the live updates from the courtroom… 

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Holly's This Morning exit among ordeal

After the terrifying charges were brought to light, Holly announced her exit from This Morning with very little fanfare after 14 years on the show. In a social media post, she wrote: "I have to make this decision for me and my family." 

After a long break, Holly returned to our screens for Dancing on Ice in January 2024, and is set to present a new Netflix show alongside Bear Grylls in 2025. 

Holly Willoughby and Bear Grylls are set to star in Bear Hunt
Holly Willoughby and Bear Grylls are set to star in Bear Hunt
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Holly waives her right to anonymity

Holly signed a document confirming that she had waived her right to anonymity regarding the sexual assault charges against Plumb. The document reads: “I am automatically entitled to anonymity as the victim of a sexual offence. These provisions mean that no matter likely to lead members of the public to idenitfy me as the person whom Gavin Plumb is alleged to have planned to rape… shall, during my lifetime, be included in any publication.

“I am also aware that the defendant is charged with two other offences where I am the victim and that automatic anonymity does not apply to those offences... My name has been widely reported in connection with this defendant and the allegations against him meaning that my ability to preserve any meaningful anonymity in relation to the alleged sexual offence has been significantly undermined… I have considered the position with care and I have decided not to seek to preserve my anonymity as the victim of the alleged sexual offences.” 

Holly signed the document on 19 June 2024. 

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Plumb thought he was talking to an abductor

Prosecutor Alison Morgan KC said that Plumb had online discussions with an undercover police officer who he believed was called David Nelson, and would carry out an abduction. 

She said: "The defendant’s planning of the offences was then interrupted and he was arrested by the police." 

Gavin Plumb, 36, a former Pizza Hut worker is on trial© Shutterstock
Gavin Plumb, 36, a former Pizza Hut worker is on trial
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Plumb's past offences

Alison Morgan MC has spoken about Plumb’s past offences, where he had attempted to abduct women from a train on two separate occasions, using a fake gun to force them to comply in 2006, as well as holding two teenage girls at knifepoint in 2008 when one managed to escape and sound the alarm. 

According to The Independent, Alison said: “These were real offences, committed against real women, involving this defendant threatening them and trying to control and detain them… 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.”

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Plumb had already bought items for the planned attack

According to the prosecution, Plumb was obsessed with Holly, and had a detailed plan to how he would kidnap her from her family home with plans to sexually assault her repeatedly before killing her. 

Ms Morgan said: “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.”

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Gavin Plumb appearing at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court in October 2023
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Gavin Plumb appearing at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court in October 2023
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Plumb called kidnap 'the ultimate fantasy'

Plumb had told a fellow user that kidnapping Holly would be his “ultimate fantasy”. He said: “Fantasy isn’t enough any more. I want the real thing.” The prosecution also confirmed that he had purchased metal cable ties, and would exchange pornographic faked imagery of TV personality with fellow online users. 

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Plumb denies all charges

Gavin Plumb has denied all charges made against him. 

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Who is Gavin Plumb?

Plumb, 36, is accused of attempting to solicit the kidnap and murder of Holly in October 2023. According to the charges, he had tried to solicit someone to travel to the UK to carry out the acts, and planned to create a “kidnap and restraint kit”. He has been charged with soliciting to commit murder, incitement to commit rape and kidnap. He was arrested on 4 October last year and has denied the charges made against him.

Gavin Plumb, 36, a former Pizza Hut worker, of Potters Field, Harlow has been arrested over an alleged plot to kidnap, rape and kill Holly Willoughby© Shutterstock
Gavin Plumb, 36, a former Pizza Hut worker, of Potters Field, Harlow has been arrested over an alleged plot to kidnap, rape and kill Holly Willoughby

At the time, Essex Police released a statement that read: “A 36-year-old man from Harlow has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to kidnap as part of an ongoing investigation. The arrest was made on Wednesday 4th October. He is currently in custody.”

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Plumb purchased what he believed to be chloroform

Officers found two bottles of what Plumb believed to be chloroform at his address, linking to his suggestion that he would use it on Holly and her partner Dan Baldwin. 

Holly Willoughby kissing Dan Baldwin's cheek© Instagram
Holly with her husband Dan
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Plumb's plan involved restraining Holly's husband

According to the prosecution, Plumb claimed that he would have restrained Holly’s husband Dan Baldwin with metal cable ties while handcuffing Holly, who would have “an extra reason to be obedient” to protect their children.

The Jury was played a voice note from March 2023 where Plumb detailed his plans including using chloroform. In the voice note, he can be heard saying: “I’ll give you a brief rundown, basically we’re gonna hit, hit it at night, less traffic on the road etcetera. 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 said he would force Holly to record a video saying that she is “consenting” to the attack. 

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The undercover officer didn’t initally recognise Holly Willoughby

The undercover officer who had been monitoring the website that Plumb was using to speak to likeminded people about his plans didn’t recognise Holly when Plumb posted a photo of her on the site, with the prosecution saying: “It was obviously a picture of Holly Willoughby, not immediately recognised by the undercover officer.”

Holly Willoughby hunza g
Holly left This Morning in the wake of the arrest
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Plumb spoke about how he planned to kill Holly

According to the prosecution, Plumb planned to restrain Holly and her husband at their home before taking Holly to a “dungeon” where her “screams can’t be heard”, saying: “Fantasy isn’t enough anymore. I want the real thing.” He also detailed how he planned on murdering her. 

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He claimed to know when Holly wouldn’t have security

Ms Morgan said that Plumb claimed to have “a load” of information about Holly’s movements, saying: “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”.

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Plumb had over 10,000 images of Holly

Plumb had over 10,000 images of Holly found in a folder on his phone. When questioned he said: "Not going to lie, she's a fantasy of mine." 

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End of court for day one

Day one of the trial is over, with Sky News reporting: "The jurors were given the start of a broad outline of the prosecution case... the thrust of the prosecutions wording this morning was that this was not just the ramblings of a fantasist." 

According to the reporter, Plumb told the undercover officer details on his research into Holly's home, and how he knew gaps in her CCTV and security. Police officers found several objects in his ownership that appeared to confirm his plans - including handcuffs and metal cable ties. 

Tomorrow the Jury will hear evidence from witnesses. 

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