This Morning host Holly Willoughby is reportedly now on “indefinite leave” from her presenting role following the arrest of a man who allegedly planned to kidnap her.
On Friday (October 6), Gavin Plumb, 36, from Essex, appeared in court charged over an alleged plot to kidnap and murder Willoughby.
Plumb, 36, was charged with soliciting to commit murder and incitement to commit kidnap. The charges state the defendant is accused of planning to assemble a “kidnap and restraint kit” and encouraging a third party to travel to the UK to carry out the alleged offences.
The court heard that Plumb is alleged to have conspired online with another man and created a “detailed plan” to carry out the alleged offences. The other man was due to arrive in the UK next week from the US, the court heard today.
The Mirror is now reporting that bosses at ITV have given Willoughby permission to remain off work for as long as she needs following news of the plot that police foiled last week.
A source told the outlet Willoughby had been left “distraught” by the news. They added: “given the terrifying things she has learned this week, the question of returning to work could not be further from her mind.”
NME has contacted ITV for comment.
Speaking about the alleged plot last week, Detective Superintendent Rob Kirby, from Essex and Kent serious crime directorate, said: “This was an extremely fast-paced investigation, with many of our officers and national partners working overnight to secure these charges.
“The safeguarding of any victim is paramount and we will continue to prioritise this and working with the Metropolitan police service as the investigation proceeds.”
Plumb has since been remanded in custody to appear for a plea hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on 3 November.
A spokesperson for ITV added: “This news has come as a huge shock to everyone at This Morning and ITV. We are providing all of the support we can to Holly and her family at this incredibly distressing time.”
Willoughby’s home in London is currently reportedly under police guard and she is reported to have been left “shocked and distraught” after learning she was the subject of the plot (via The Independent).
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also sent well wishes to Willoughby during an appearance on This Morning after hearing the news. Before addressing the Tory conference and proposed policies, he sent a supportive message, saying: “I’m so sorry to hear everything going on with Holly, I just want to send my best to her and her family.”