Undercover US Officer Foils Plot To Kidnap And Harm British TV Star

A British man was found guilty on Thursday of plotting to kidnap and harm a prominent British TV presenter, Holly Willoughby. The plot was uncovered thanks to an undercover American officer who was investigating online criminal activities.

Gavin Plumb, 37, from Harlow, Essex, was convicted after an eight-day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court. The trial revealed Plumb’s disturbing plans against the former ITV star, which he had shared on an online group called “Abduct Lovers.”

The plot came to light when an undercover officer from the U.S., operating under the alias David Nelson, discovered Plumb’s activities. Nelson, who works with the Minnesota-based Owatonna Police Department and specializes in preventing abductions and violent crimes, reported the plot to the FBI on October 3, 2023. The FBI then alerted Essex Police, who promptly arrested Plumb the next day.

Nelson testified via videolink, explaining that Plumb had posted several photos of Willoughby on the group, indicating his desire to target her. Nelson engaged Plumb in conversation, where Plumb detailed his plans to break into Willoughby’s home, incapacitate her and her husband, and abduct her.

Plumb’s defense attorney, Sasha Wass, claimed that the online posts were mere fantasies. However, Prosecutor Nicola Rice emphasized the seriousness of Plumb’s intentions, calling his plans “chilling.”

This conviction is not Plumb’s first; he has a history of similar offenses, including attempting to force air hostesses off a train and detaining teenage girls in a store.

Willoughby, upon learning of the plot, left her role on ITV’s This Morning show in October 2023 and received 24-hour police protection. She expressed her gratitude for the quick response from the undercover officer and the police.

Plumb is scheduled for sentencing on July 12.

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