Plot to Kidnap, Murder TV Presenter Thwarted By US Undercover Officer

A British man was convicted on Thursday for plotting to kidnap, harm and murder a well-known British TV presenter, Holly Willoughby. The plot was uncovered thanks to the efforts of an undercover American police officer.

Gavin Plumb, a 37-year-old resident of Harlow, Essex, was found guilty after an eight-day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court. The court heard how Plumb had meticulously planned to carry out his disturbing fantasies against the former ITV star, with evidence showing his involvement in an online group called “Abduct Lovers.”

The plot came to light when a U.S. undercover officer, using the alias David Nelson, infiltrated the group on the encrypted messaging app Kik. Nelson, who specializes in identifying potential abductions, rapes, and murders, reported Plumb’s activities to the FBI on October 3, 2023. The FBI then tipped off Essex Police, who swiftly raided Plumb’s home the next day, leading to his arrest.

Nelson testified via videolink that Plumb had posted four photos of Willoughby in the group, captioning them with the chilling statement, “The one in the public eye that I want.” The officer’s intervention was crucial in preventing what could have been a horrific crime.

In conversations with Nelson, Plumb detailed his plan to break into Willoughby’s home, incapacitate her and her husband with chloroform, and abduct her. He even described how he would sexually torture Willoughby at an abandoned farm before ultimately murdering her and disposing of her body in a lake after washing it in bleach.

Plumb’s attorney, Sasha Wass, argued that the posts on “Abduct Lovers” were merely fantasies. However, Prosecutor Nicola Rice highlighted the dangerous and calculated nature of Plumb’s intentions, calling the plot “chilling.”

This was not Plumb’s first brush with the law. He had previously been convicted twice for similar offenses, including attempting to force air hostesses off a train and tying up two teenage girls in a shop.

Willoughby, who was informed of the plot against her, left her role on ITV’s This Morning show in October 2023 and received 24-hour police protection. She expressed gratitude for the swift actions of the undercover officer and the police forces involved.

Plumb will be sentenced on July 12.