Holly Willoughby’s torture and kidnap ‘hell’ over as would-be abductor awaits sentence

The nightmare is over at last for the brave TV presenter

holly willoughby

by heat staff |
Updated on

The past few months have been a harrowing time for Holly Willoughby, who has been at the centre of a terrifying kidnap plot against her. But she no doubt breathed a huge sigh of relief last week when her would- be abductor Gavin Plumb was found guilty of plotting to kidnap, rape and murder her following an eight-day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The 30st security guard, 37, who wept as he was sent down to the cells, hatched the sick plan to ambush Holly at her home after developing an “obsession” with the TV star. And insiders say that while her world has been turned upside down, brave Holly finally feels free of the horror and is determined to stay positive going forward.

“Holly has been living in a suspended hell – it’s been a struggle for her from the offset,” says our source. “The whole thing has totally rocked her, but she’s relieved at least now she’s free. She’s desperate to find solace and turn this into an empowering feeling, rather than leaving her scared.”

holly willoughby and josie gibson on this morning
she left this morning in 2023 ©Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Plumb, who had previous convictions for attempted kidnap and false imprisonment, will be sentenced this week, and Holly, 43, bravely waived her anonymity, so she could be named in court. Breaking her silence following the verdict, she said in a statement, “As women, we should not be made to feel unsafe going about our daily lives and in our own homes. I will forever be grateful to the undercover police officer who understood the imminent threat, and to the Metropolitan and Essex police forces for their swift response. Thank you to the Crown Prosecution Service, the Rt Hon Mr Justice Murray, Alison Morgan KC, the members of the jury and all involved in this case for ensuring that justice was done and that the defendant will not be able to harm any more women.”

She added, “I would also like to commend the bravery of his previous victims for speaking up at the time. Without their bravery, this conviction may not have been possible.”

gavin plumb
plumb is waiting to be sentenced ©Shutterstock

During the trial, it emerged that Plumb plotted to kidnap Holly from the London home she shares with TV producer husband Dan Baldwin and their three young children – using chloroform to knock her out – before bundling her into a van and taking her to a “dungeon”. It was revealed he later planned to kill her and dispose of her body in a lake. Plumb had tracked her movements for “some time” – almost booking a tour to the ITV studios that would involve meeting presenters – and had more than 10,000 images of her on his phone, including deepfake pornography.

The court was also shown a chilling image of his kidnap kit, which included ropes, handcuffs and metal cable ties. But his plans were foiled when one of his potential accomplices turned out to be an undercover officer in the US, who reported Plumb to the FBI.

holly willoughby and dan baldwin
with supportive husband dan ©Getty Images: Ricky Vigil M/GC Images

The twisted plot first came to light back in October, and, shortly after, Holly announced she was leaving This Morning after 14 years – telling fans she made the decision “for me and my family”. Our insider adds that Holly – who has also had to weather the storm of a public friendship breakdown with co-host Phillip Schofield – now wants to put it all behind her and move on.

We’re told, “Holly’s been putting on a brave face, but she’s understandably been a nervous wreck. She lived in fear of this man being found not guilty, which would have been horrific for her and her family.

“She’s going through a mixture of emotions, but she refuses to become a victim of this. Justice has been served, and she can go back to trying to live a normal life.”

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